Jethro lobbiesfor theme casino
December 31, 2003
By Susie Vasquez
Tribune News Service
CARSON CITY – Rotarians here got a firsthand look at the man who wants to put a hillbilly casino in their town.
Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro Bodine in the popular 1960s sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was the guest speaker during the club’s noon meeting at the Piñon Plaza.
Baer is proposing construction of the Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in the old Wal-Mart building, and he is optimistic about his chances for success.
“People are going to be spending their money here,” Baer said. “Growth will overcome the obstacles because this is a nice place to live. I want to be a part of that.”
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Baer said the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme attracts media attention, and he believes the casino would attract more tourists to Carson City.
Baer, who retired to Lake Tahoe in 1980, developed the concept for his casino after visiting the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village. If that theme could succeed, so could his, he said.
The Rotarians seemed guardedly optimistic.
“I don’t know if the casino will be good or bad,” said Dr. Gary Ayles, a longtime Carson City veterinarian. “But if he wants to bring into Carson City the kind of quality casino he’s talking about, we should sit down and take a good look at it.
“City officials will make the ultimate decision,” Ayles said.
Carson City Realtor Kathy Tatro applauded Baer’s vision, as did Bill Henderson, director of sales and marketing of the Carson Valley Inn.
“A casino resort next to a J.C. Penney seems odd to me, but I don’t have any real basis for contesting his vision,” said Rotary President John Griffin. “He’s enthusiastic, and if anyone can sell the concept, he can.”
Baer is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara in California with a degree in business. His ventures have shown some success.
He obtained the rights from CBS to use the “Beverly Hillbillies” idea for casinos, hotels, theme parks, restaurants, cosmetics and consumables. He started researching the casino industry around 1985.
Acting on Baer’s behalf, longtime friend John King, a California developer, purchased the former Wal-Mart property for $4.3 million and promptly signed it over to Baer in August. Plans include a 200-foot flaming oil derrick, 30,000-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines and 16 gaming tables, a 240-room hotel and restaurants – all with the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme.
Standing in the way of this project are covenants and restrictions governing Southgate Mall, which prohibit the development of a theater, bowling alley, nightclub or other place of recreation or amusement.
For months, Baer negotiated with the other two mall owners, Glenbrook Co. and J.C. Penney, but no agreement was reached. On Dec. 8, he filed a petition for declaratory judgment in Carson City District Court.