Nevada Adds Convicted Felon To ‘Black Book’

November 18, 2022
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A mobster with ties to illegal gambling and a slot cheat have been removed from Nevada’s list of excluded persons after authorities confirmed their deaths on Thursday, prior to gaming regulators unanimously agreeing to ban convicted felon Leonard Morgan Hairston from the state’s casinos.

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A mobster with ties to illegal gambling and a slot cheat have been removed from Nevada’s list of excluded persons after authorities confirmed their deaths on Thursday (November 17), prior to gaming regulators unanimously agreeing to ban convicted felon Leonard Morgan Hairston from the state’s casinos.

Hairston, who has been arrested 34 times and had multiple felony convictions for theft of casino chips or the production of counterfeit chips, became the latest person added to the list of excluded persons, commonly known as the “black book.”

Additionally, Hairston has already been excluded from establishments that conduct gaming by two Nevada judges.

“Mr. Hairston seems to be incapable of staying out of trouble in Nevada casinos,” said John Michela, senior deputy attorney general with the gaming division of the Nevada attorney general’s office.

“This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that [he] has been arrested by Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) agents, not other law enforcement agencies, approximately 34 times between 1990 and 2021,” Michela told the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC).

Hairston represented himself Thursday in a nearly two-hour hearing and told the commission he was not properly served of the accusations against him and that crimes he committed in casino were property crimes and not gaming crimes.

“In order for the commission to conduct a lawful proceeding those documents have to be filed just like in criminal cases,” Hairston argued. “When the courts issue you a complaint, they don’t have jurisdiction until the complaint is filed and served to you a copy of the unfiled complaint.”

Jennifer Togliatti, chair of the commission, interrupted Hairston’s presentation, asking what cases he was discussing.

Michela responded that state law enforcement officials did serve Hairston personally with the notice of nomination and candidacy for the list of excluded persons on October 12.

“Those are the only two things we are required to serve on him,” he said. “The exhibit package we served as a matter of courtesy to try and expediate this matter. So he would have time to review all those materials.”

Michela added that the documents for inclusion on the list of excluded persons were filed with the commission at the time because they were control board actions. The NGCB unanimously approved Hairston's inclusion in the black book at its October meeting, sending the matter to the commission for final approval.

Hairston also provided sworn testimony about his felony convictions Thursday in an effort to avoid being added to the list of excluded persons.

Commissioner Steven Cohen told Hairston that he falls within the guidelines of a person eligible for the black book.

“There is serial [offenses], meaning happening time and time again, over the course of many years involving counterfeit chips, stolen chips from a roulette table. These cannot be in any way, shape or form excused,” Cohen said before the commission unanimously approved Hairston’s inclusion in the black book.

Hairston is now the 35th name on the Nevada excluded persons list after Tommy Glenn Carmichael and Alvin George Kaohu were removed by commissioners without comment Thursday.

Carmichael, whose last known address was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Kaohu, who lived in Hawaii, have died since the last time control board agents reviewed the list and the status of its members.

Nevada gaming regulations allow persons on the list to petition for their removal, but the only persons to have been removed from the list since 1960 are those who have died, and the attorney general’s office has verified their deaths before supporting a name’s removal.

Carmichael, who was added to the list on February 20, 2003, was caught using and distributing slot machine cheating devices in Nevada and New Jersey in 2001.

Kaohu, also known as “Ali Baba” and “Blue Eyes”, was added to the black book on January 23, 1975. Kaohu had been one of two people on the list longer than any current member.

With his death, Wilford Kalaauala Pulawa, who was also added to the list on January 23, 1975, has now been on the list of excluded persons longer than any other current member.

Kaohu and fellow excluded person Pulawa were part of The Company, also called the Hawaiian Syndicate, an organized crime group based in Hawaii from the 1970s to the mid-1990s that laundered money and ran illegal gaming and prostitution, with some of its activities occurring on the U.S. mainland, mainly in Nevada and California.

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