Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Letter from Homer Rissman to Frank S. Hofues, Santa Monica, December 21, 1955







Five-page letter from Homer Rissman to Frank Hofues regarding the Lady Luck Casino, later named the Hacienda.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier

Box 17 Folder 3


sky002022. Homer Rissman Architectural Records, 1960-1980. MS-00452. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Digitized materials: physical originals can be viewed in Special Collections and Archives reading room

Digital Processing Note

Manual transcription





The National Corporation 1910 Ocean Front, Santa Monica, Calif. Attn: Mr. Frank S. Hofues Dear sir: In response to your request and inquiry concerning the circumstances attendant with your order for the preparation of plans and specifications for the Lady Luck Las Vegas Hotel, please be advised of the following in resume'. Two weeks prior to May 4, 1954, the data which I first arrived in Santa Monica, Calif., 1 was approached by Mr. James Efston of Efstonbuilt Inc., a Chicago restaurant Fixture contracting Concern, with the purpose of retaining me to prepare certain interior plans on the west Coast. Prior to this date I hod not at anytime be -n engaged as an employee of this firm. After a discussion with Mr. Efston 1 agreed to represent his firm at that time on the condition that 11 expenses be paid ana that subsequently there would be Some form of participation in whatever interest should accrue in this work. My first work upon arrival here was the preparation of certain sketches for interior alterations, which were to be ma bin the Wilton hotel in Long Beach, Calif. On the 13th of May, 1954, after the completion of those sketches, Mr. informed me that he was returning to Chicago and requested that I remain here to commence sketches on a proposed 800 room hotel project to be built in Las Vegas. In response to my inquiry regarding what arrangements or commitments had been undertaken at the time, Efston stated there were no agreements existing and that he was willing to undergo expenses I would incur on the basis of the verbal agreement existing between yourself and Efston then, which he stated provided for his ultimate reimbursement by you of expenses. he stated that he was unable to offer me any regular salary at the time, but felt that if I would continue here, the relationship would be highly profitable to him in creating a substantial amount of Restaurant Fixture orders, in which I would participate in some portion of the profits. I informed him that I was an Architect and not equipped in my background as a Fixture salesman, however, ha felt that I would bo capable for completing preliminaries for future contracts. during the ensuing months, until June 13, 1954, when he returned to Los Angeles for the second time, I prep red preliminary plans for the 800 room Las Vegas hotel and preliminary working drawings for the remodeling of the hilton hotel Coffee Shop and Drug Store. Efston in the meantime was desirous of obtaining a contract commitment for Mr. Frank S. Hofues The national Corporation December 21, 1955 - 2 alt rations for a new restaurant an' Cocktail Lounge in the hotel. He was unsuccessful in obtaining this agreement for it seemed at the time the project was to be abandoned* he stated nevertheless. that he still felt it advantageous for me to remain hare as regarding the promotion of the 800 room Motel. in the absence of any formal agreement and after reimbursement of expenses, he returned to Chicago again. B u r i n ? the period following until July l4, 1954, when ha a^ain returned to Los Angeles, I had undertaken the preparation of sketches and preliminaries for three additional proposed Las Vegas Hotel projects! one by an' between .Mir. W.s and yourself, another by anti between :Mr. Leonard Wilson and yourself, and the last which was to become the Lady Luck hotel project. During the period of the 14th and the 23r of July 1954 were entered into, whereby you proposed that his firm, under my direction with a small office in .Santa Monica, should ;rap re the working drawings and specifications to bo used for these projects at such time they materialized. Efston, after conferring with me, indicated to you th it we wr?ui i be agreeable to such an arrangement an*, of course was hopeful of obtaining substantial .fixture and interior contracts from* this work. ha stated that he maintained an architectural staff and engineering service under his employ regularly in Chicago <nd notwithstanding that these men were engaged far the performances of his own work as a rule, ha would make these services available on a basis of an architectural agreement between yourself and his firm. August 18 and August 24, 1954 and at this time arranged a meeting for hi m with the Principals of Lady Luck, r. Carlton Adair and Mr.. -William Davies. At this time certain arrangements w r? made and discussed far the purpose of retaining Efston's firm to do the interior contracting in the Motel. You had conveyed to him in previous discussions that you would lease the Motel to these operators as the project material-ized an! that they, as the tenants, would be responsible for the furnishing of the hotel property. Efston had undertaken at that time a commitment, wherein ha was to prepare and submit to the Lady Luck Corp. certain interior sketches subject to their approval which he subsequently did not fulfill. on the 9th of September, 1934, i was instructed to deliver to Mr. Guy Ward's office th: preliminary plans and specifica-tions, which I had prepared far the Lady Luck hotel, which i was informed were to be incorporated as instruments for an Escrow agreement. you requested at that time that Efston should Mr. Frank S. Hofues The national Corporation December 21, 1953 - 3 - return to Los Angeles to discuss negotiations for an Architects contract for the preparation of actual working drawings and specifications for the Lady Luck hotel. returned to Los Angeles September 28, 1934, and immediately discussions were held in Mr. Guy Ward's office, wherein he agreed that a contract was to be prepared, providing that he was to be paid a fixed fee of 300.00 over and above all costs, which were to be paid by you and of course Made subject to your approval. As you will recall, this letter agreement or contract, which was prepared in your office, suming up your verbal agreement, first rejected by Efston and at his suggestion ha prep red an alternate agreement, which was then rejected by you. fins last paper was amended and prior to the time it could be redrawn, Efston stated that he had to return to Chicago and since you were going to be in Chicago the following Monday, he stated that both of you could Meet in Chicago to sign and conclude the arrangements. October 3rd his brother was killed in an automobile accident, Making it impossible for you to meet with him that following. week to sign the agreement. The following week you returned from Chicago and informed me that I would have to proceed very shortly with the working drawings and specifications. Efston contacted me and informed me that he would have to return to Greece for an extended period as a result of th death of his brother. be st tod that he would forward to me the redrafted contract, which 1 was to have signed by you and thereafter I should return to Chicago promptly and obtain the necessary additional help and equipment to commence work. When the contract arrived here it was considerably different from that which you had mutually agreed upon in Los Angeles and you prepared a fourth agreement and delivered it to me, informing mo that notwithstanding Efston's absence you would require definite approval or would have to make other arrangements. Efston at th- time could not be reached for another meeting between yourselves and he instructed so by phone to return to Chicago to proceed with the work as planned an to deliver the contract to his attorney there. 1 returned to Chic go October 16, 1954, and was unsuccessful in obtaining from his offices any financing for the required equipment. I was unable to procure any engineering or drafting help at the time. discussing th matter with you and in view of then what would be Efston's prolonged absence, you agreed to undertake the advancement of whatever expenses were necessary and stated that henceforth you would make all payroll checks directly. Acting upon what I felt was my own better judgement, and since I was unable then to contact Efston by phone, I proceeded to make the necessary arrangements here to retain such Mr. Frank S. Hofues The National Corporation December 21, 1955 4 - services, materials, and equipment under your direction and approval, as would bo required to fulfill the work. On or about the first of November, 1954, I obtained the drafting equipment and between ti;e first and the sixteenth of November prepared sixteen sheets of preliminary drawings, which formulated the basis for conditional approval by the Clark County building Dept. of the actual working drawings. On the 22nd of November I reviewed these plans with the Building dept. in Las Vegas and their approval was given. November and the 22nd of December, 1954, 1 completed the first twenty-seven sheets of the working drawings which were suitable for application for the General building permit for construction. You will remember that during this period, not having sufficient drafting help available or the office space to house them and since you had entered into preliminary negotiations with Buttress & McClellen General Contractors, i moved my available help into their offices and together with two draftsmen who were loaned to me, expedited the completion of the drawings. I informed you that it would bo necessary for a General Contractor to apply for the actual permit for construction and you stated that since you had not concluded arrangements with any Contractor as of that late, you would prefer that I file strictly in the name of the owner. Subsequently to the filing of December 22, and in the period intervening between that date and January 17, 1955, the plans were reviewed and the necessary corrections made. On the 17th of January, 1955, I was informed by the building dept. that no permit would be issued in the absence of a general Contractor. I informed you of this. During that time Efston arrived in Log Angeles on January 1, 1955 after having been in Greece and presumably rendered a b i l l to you and c o l l e c t e d periodic payment as set forth in the agreement, together with various expenses which he had incurred previously. After visiting Las Vegas, Efston departed for Chicago on January 7, 1955 i departed for Las Vegas on on January 22, and a w a i t e d your arrival with a general contractor who obtain the permit for the construction. You arrived with Mr. Wade Prong of R.J. Daum Construction Co. a few days later and on January 27. 1955 Permit for construction was taken out. After returning to Los Angeles in the period from January 27 to March 11, 1955. the plans and specifications were redesigned and so constructed as to enable H.J. daum to sublet the contracts actually as agent for the owner. It was necessary during this period to engage the services of Mechanical and electrical Engineers, who had not heretofore Mr. Frank S. Hofues The National Corporation December 21, 1955 - 3 - been retained, to prepare some sort of Mechanical and Electrical drawings with which competitive bids could be taken. On the 11th of March, 1955. the actual contract plans and specifications were issued to R.J. :Daum for bidders and on th 23rd of March, Daum's Superintendent established offices in s Actual construction commenced the first week of April, 1955, which has been unimpeded since. obtained further payment and expenses. 1 departed with him for Bakersfield, Calif. on the 2nd of May, after having arranged a meeting with Mr. John Mendoza, who was a representative of the Las Vegas Hacienda, Inc. This meeting was for the purpose of obtaining an agreement for Efston for the preparation of plans for th interior contracting work in the Hotel. He had during this time been unsuccessful in concluding any favorable negotiations with the Lady Luck Corp. for the preparation of their interior plans. Efston returned to Chicago on May 5. 1955 On the 23rd of May, 1955. I made a trip to Stockton, Calif, in your behalf regarding the preparation of a proposed Hotel project there and it was also at this time that preliminary sketches were made for proposed alterations for the Desert Spa Hotel in Las Vegas. 23th of June, i arranged a meeting to take place in Fresno between Mr. Warren Bayley and Efston for the purpose of concluding arrangements for the interior plans for the Hotel for the Las Vegas Hacienda, Inc. These arrangements were unsuccessful and we returned to Los Angeles on June 26, 1955 Efston departed immediately thereafter for Chicago, stating that since he had not been successful in obtaining any interior contract, he would waste no further time in the work. This was his last trip to Los Angeles and although he has communicated with me a few times since by telephone, he has evidenced no further interest. During this last trip he made arrangements with you wherein a cert in portion of the fee due him would be withheld until the completion of the building and with the exception of this amount he was paid in full for his services at that time, together with all expenses he alleged he incurred from the period of May 4, 1954 to that time. This discussion and settlement was made in the presence of Efston, yourself, Mr. Charles welch, and myself. Trusting this will prove satisfactory for your purpose, I am Very truly yours, HR/mjm Homer Rissman