The newest name in Nevada’s notorious “Black Book” signals a shift away from organized crime figures and casino cheats that have occupied the list of excluded persons for more than six decades to include a Las Vegas man with a history of forcing women into prostitution at Las Vegas resorts.
Kendrick Laronte Weatherspoon, who also has a record of assaulting women, has officially become the 36th person added to the Black Book, according to a notice published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
During a 90-minute hearing on Thursday (August 25), the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) debated whether adding Weatherspoon to the list would set a precedent, allowing for the addition of hundreds of criminals in the future.
In a unanimous vote by the NGC, Weatherspoon became the 36th person currently on the list.
The precedent-setting decision by Nevada regulators came about two months after the American Gaming Association (AGA) issued a new report on "Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in the Gaming Industry".
“Led by our Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, the AGA and our members are committed to combatting all forms of human trafficking,” Alex Costello, AGA vice president, government relations, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance on Monday (August 29).
“Human rights offenses have absolutely no place in our businesses, and we are glad to see the Nevada Gaming Commission take serious action in response to these heinous crimes.”
Richard McGarvey, a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), said the board similarly placed Oscar Carter III and Shelby Summer Brown on the state’s exclusion list in 2018 for being associated with sex trafficking.
“The board, through its enforcement arm, takes the stance that sex traffickers who have a connection to any casino as a hotel guest or patron will be excluded for any inimical acts on the property,” McGarvey said.
People who are listed in the Black Book are banned from all casinos in Nevada.
“Mr. Weatherspoon with his type of background is unique but I want to say including someone on the list with this unique background as compared to others on the list is not unusual. The list has always evolved,” said Mike Somps, senior deputy attorney general with the Nevada attorney general’s office.
Somps reminded commissioners last week that the types of individuals placed on the list over the years has changed depending on the problems of the time, “whether it is in connection with organized crime, those who are slot cheats … or those using the gaming establishment for a place to steal from patrons.”
“Today, prostitution and sex trafficking are increasingly problematic in Las Vegas casinos, and I can tell you because the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has sought help from the board in arresting the problem through placing someone on the list with that type of background.”
Ultimately it was law enforcement, Somps said, that proposed Weatherspoon, “who is one of the worst given his significant criminal history.”
Weatherspoon had 30 cases in Clark County District Court from 2000 through 2021, with his criminal history beginning in 1996 when he pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge. In June 2021, he was charged with sex trafficking of an adult, battery by strangulation, sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary.
According to authorities, a woman, who was not identified at the hearing, met Weatherspoon and he offered to “basically be your pimp.” She tried to walk away from Weatherspoon after he dropped her at The Venetian, but he showed up at her apartment grabbed her by the throat and chocked her before raping her, police said.
Weatherspoon pleaded to coercion and was sentenced to probation. In 2019, he was charged with sex trafficking of an adult and domestic battery, but the case was closed after he completed domestic violence counselling and community service.
Somps said placing Weatherspoon on the list sends a message that those who engage in sex trafficking and violence against women that they are not going to be allowed to engage in that activity in Nevada’s casinos. He added that commissioners can expect to see other individuals with this type of background before them in future for consideration to be added to the Black Book.
Nevada Gaming Commission chair Jennifer Togliatti asked for clarity on why Weatherspoon, and not someone else with a similar background, was proposed for the Black Book.
“These conversations have been going on for at least a dozen years,” said James Taylor, the NGCB’s chief of enforcement. “I took over the Black Book in 1996 and there have been several instances over the years where [police] captains have asked if we would be interested in this.”
Taylor said interest in potentially adding Weatherspoon to the list goes back to 2018. He added that the list has only had 71 names on it during its history.
At its inception in 1960, the Black Book included 11 names, most of which were added because of ties to organized crime, including Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, who gained control of several Las Vegas casinos — Sands, Riviera and Desert Inn — in the 1950s and 1960s.
The most recent addition to the list was Joseph Whit Moody in 2018, who was convicted of numerous crimes of theft, including stealing money from elderly casino patrons by distracting them at casino redemption kiosks and ATMs.
The only way a person can be removed from the Black Book is by death.
There have been 400 sex trafficking cases filed in southern Nevada between 2019 and 2021, and Jennifer Togliatti, chair of the five-member commission, expressed concern over where to draw the line.
Todd Fasulo, vice president of security of Wynn Las Vegas and a former assistant sheriff with LVMPD, said going forward it was unlikely that Nevada regulators are going to put everyone on the list, but regulators should focus mainly on the violence that is associated with sex trafficking.
“We all suffer from the some of the same issues that are perpetuated by these individuals that are just down right violent and if it wasn’t for a casino, if it wasn’t for a hotel, if it wasn’t for tourism, they wouldn’t have the ground to go do it as fruitfully as they do now.”
Fasulo said he believes it is a “good tool to put the most violent offenders in this Black Book.”