Sinatra versus Nevada gaming regulators, part 2 |

Sinatra versus Nevada gaming regulators, part 2

Nevada Appeal staff report
Frank Sinatra, right, chats with Marilyn Monroe and Wingie Grover during the time Sinatra owned the Cal Neva at Lake Tahoe.
Don Dondero/Provided by Michael Fischer

When Frank Sinatra sought to regain a gaming license in Nevada in 1981, he called upon a Nevada local that had already led him through a crisis several years earlier.

Bill Raggio, then a powerful state senator, was Washoe County’s district attorney in 1963 when Sinatra’s son, Frank Jr., was kidnapped. Raggio and the elder Sinatra struck up an enduring friendship in the days after the kidnapping. Sinatra asked Raggio to represent him in front of Nevada’s Gaming Commission as he sought to regain his license.

On Wednesday, the Nevada Historical Society will host part two of “The Frank Sinatra Saga.” This American Gaming Archives Fireside Chat will feature longtime Northern Nevada journalist, writer and editor Guy W. Farmer; historian Michael Fischer and Raggio biographer Michael Archer.

The event is from 5 to 6:30 p.m., starting with a wine-and-cheese reception at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; free for Nevada Historical Society members and children 17 and younger. For details, call 775-688-1190.

Sinatra owned the Cal Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe for a time in the early 1960s, but his gaming license was stripped for his association with mob figures. In his 1981 hearing, Raggio brought character witnesses from Hollywood, including film stars Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas to testify on Sinatra’s behalf.

The Nevada Historical Society is located at 1650 N. Virginia St., Reno on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early as seating is limited. For more information, call 775-688-1190.