Mob's lawyer elected mayor of Las Vegas

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AFTER YEARS of successfully keeping notorious clients out of jail, Las Vegas's most famous Mob lawyer revelled in a different sort of victory yesterday as he was elected mayor of his adoptive city.

Oscar Goodman thrashed his opponent, a city councilman called Arnie Adamsen, by 64 per cent to 36 and immediately promised changes in a city, nurtured on gambling and organised crime, which is America's fastest- growing metropolitan area. "I love Las Vegas, and from now on the city will be my only client," he said.

A man best known for his defence of such figures as Meyer Lansky, the Mob's financial overlord, and Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, an enforcer charged with more than 20 killings, might not seem a wise choice of mayor for Las Vegas, which has struggled over the past two decades to earn respectability as a place where above-board corporations can invest and wholesome families can come for their holidays.

But Las Vegans said repeatedly that they didn't care about Mr Goodman's past - if anything, they admired him for maintaining his highly successful law practice without once being shown to have "crossed the line" and colluded with his clientele of pornographers, gangsters and murderers. Instead, they lapped up his flamboyant personality, his biting wit and his ability to make fools of his critics.

In his campaign Mr Goodman promised to crack down on property developers whose building schemes have eateninto the desert without adequate infrastructure. However, he received contributions from friends in the gaming industry whose own property interests have sparked scandal, as inadequately protected construction workers have fallen to their deaths on building sites and vast quantities of Las Vegas's scarce water have been diverted for lakes and fountains.