Moving on Vegas. (Harveys Casino Resorts expands to Las Vegas, Nevada, and Central City, Colorado) (includes related article on joint venture with Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton)

HARVEY GROSS used to run a successful hotel and casino, Harvey's, on Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada/California state line. When people asked why he never expanded beyond the lake, he always gave them the same answer. "I have a nice little business," he said. "How many steaks can I eat?"

When Gross died 11 years ago, at age 79, his operation was indeed a nice little business. It earned $4.1 million in 1983, on revenues of $70 million. It had virtually no debt--Harvey Gross liked to be a banker, not borrow from one.

Control eventually passed to William Ledbetter, the company's chief executive and Gross' son-in-law. Compared with his father-in-law, Ledbetter possessed a voracious appetite. He quickly decided to double the size of Harvey's Tahoe casino and triple the number of rooms. The budget was $70 million, all borrowed. Three years later the money was gone, the project only 70% complete.

To save the company, Ledbetter called Thomas Yturbide, an experienced casino hand who had spent nearly three decades with Harrah's in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Laughlin, Nev. …

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