New Information about Kirk Vartanian

June 30, 2009 7:30:48 AM PDT
Action News is learning new information about the criminal cases against Fresno developer Kirk Vartanian. The man who created Las Vegas-style hoopla with the opening of The Edge remains in jail, and some of Vegas' biggest casinos say he stole their money.We found court records accusing Vartanian of passing a quarter million dollars worth of bad checks. Vartanian called Action News from jail on Saturday. At that time, he told Action News he was trying to repay the debt. Vartanian also denied ever assaulting a woman.

Two major Las Vegas casinos claim Vartanian ripped them off. The state of Nevada filed a felony complaint against Vartanian. It indicated between September and November 2007 Vartanian visited the Venetian Resort and Casino and the Wynn Hotel. During his time in Vegas, he is accused of passing 16 bad checks and receiving $250,000 in cash and gaming chips.

Vartanian said nearly two weeks ago, "I told everybody I was going to do. It didn't matter what it was going to cost." Vartanian's last on camera interview happened on June 19 when he reopened the old Cabo Wabo restaurant and nightclub and renamed it The Edge.

Action News discovered a case titled the MGM Grand Hotel vs Kirk Vartanian. The case shows his problems with casinos date back to 1995. A judge ordered Vartanian to repay the casino $45,000. The status of this debt is unclear.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer held a press conference on Saturday where he said Vartanian assaulted a woman with a deadly weapon, "He held the knife towards her face, approximately three inches away from her face." We discovered a sworn statement filed at the court house. Vartanian's former girlfriend claimed more than a decade ago that he also assaulted her. She wrote: " ... [On} February 3, 1991, while at my residence, Kirk Vartanian struck me about the face and head with his fist. He yelled at me and threatened to kill me." Because of that statement, a judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Fresno developer.

Vartanian previously told me he has never hit any woman. He believes the new domestic violence charges are false. The state board that controls alcohol licenses confirmed Vartanian's recent arrest could impact his ability to operate The Edge.

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