A former Lake Tahoe casino owned by Frank Sinatra, and hangout of Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. may soon get new life thanks to an infusion of tech money from one of the Bay Area’s wealthiest residents.
Larry Ellison, the founder and chairman of Oracle Corp. will pay $35.8 million to buy the Cal Neva Resort & Casino out of bankruptcy, according to the Sacramento Bee. He was the only bidder for the aging hotel and casino, which has gone through a series of ownership changes since its star-studded Sinatra days. Seller Criswell-Radovan LLC closed the resort in September 2013 for renovations but declared bankruptcy last year. The property has sat vacant and in disrepair for the last four years.
The Cal Neva Resort and Casino sits on the shores of North Lake Tahoe in California and encompasses a hotel and small casino. Built in 1926, the resort was bought by Frank Sinatra in 1960. As we wrote previously, Sinatra quickly turned it into a haven for his celebrity friends and some rather shady characters. In 1963, Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana (The “Godfather” of the American Mafia) was discovered on the property by FBI agents and Sinatra was swiftly pressured into selling the casino.
Larry Ellison has made billions in high technology and has a knack for buying glitzy real estate properties. The Cal Neva is another big splash for Ellison, who reportedly spent $500 million buying Hawaii’s Lanai island in 2012, owns a $42 million property in Rancho Mirage and a multimillion-dollar “garden villa” in Japan. The Wall Street Journal has referred to him as “one of the nation’s most voracious consumers of trophy real estate.” Forbes pegged his net worth at $43 billion.
Ellison is no stranger to Tahoe. He sold a mansion in the Snug Harbor area in 2014 for $20 million and is building an 18,000-square-foot getaway on the north shore. Hopefully, with his experience and financial backing, this historic resort can be restored to its former glory.