Steve put his younger brother in charge of the day-to-day oversight of our work, tutored by Milt Gerstman, who took him under his wing in an almost father-son relationship.
Frank Sinatra from time to time would stay in Mount Kisco, New York with former Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. and his wife Phyllis, neighbors of mine who had become friends, and in whose company I had dined with Old Blue Eyes. I told this to Steve Wynn at one point, and he expressed an interest in meeting Sinatra. I was able to set that up, and Sinatra eventually did a series of promotional ads for Wynn’s casinos.
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Wynn likes his jokes, and one of the best ones he played on me. I was in Las Vegas, having breakfast with his brother who was in charge of the construction, and his brother Ken informed me that Steve wanted me to meet him on his private golf course. I’m not a golfer, so I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted, but when a client asks for a meeting, I’m inclined to respond. So I went out to the golf course, where Steve’s associates pointed me out to him, playing on the third hole with a partner that I could not identify from afar. However, there seemed to be a lot of extra security people around, so I became a little bit suspicious. As I walked onto the green to meet Steve, his partner turned around. It was President George H. W. Bush.
A laugh of a different sort came about because of the intense competition between Steve Wynn and his rival in the Atlantic City casino business, Donald Trump.
We had never worked for Trump, but one day my office received a call from the Trump Organization summoning me to his office to discuss a project. Since his Fifth Avenue office in The Trump Tower is just a couple of blocks from my office, I walked over, and was soon in a meeting with Donald’s brother Robert.
The Trumps knew that we were constructing the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City for Steve Wynn, and wanted to know how much their rival was paying us. I wouldn’t divulge that, but I told Robert how we went about Construction Management and what our fees ran between 2 and 5 percent of construction costs. Donald was not in the room but he was in an adjoining one as Robert and I negotiated. He offered us the job of being Construction Manager on the Trump casinos at the same 3% percent that we were charging Steve Wynn, and we shook hands on it.