Apparently New York real estate lawyer and investor Lawrence A. Wien caught the eye of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover when in 1959 he purchased the Desert Inn in Las Vegas and leased it back to former owner Wilbur Clark.
The Associated Press covered the real estate deal, and reported:
A hotel spokesman said the deal involves more than 10 million dollars. The hotel will remain under the management of the former owner, Wilbur Clark, and his associates. Clark has a lease for an initial term of 20 years and options terminating in the year 2022.
Given that the FBI suspected Clark's associates included mobsters such as Moe Dalitz the transaction was flagged for a "discreet inquiry." A 8/26/59 memo from Director Hoover to the New York field office provides:
[T]he assets of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas were acquired by one Lawrence A. Wien, a New York attorney and real estate investor, for the sum of ten million dollars and under a sale lease-back agreement. Lawrence A. Wien is not identifiable in Bureau files on basis of available information. New York Office is instructed to check indices and to conduct sufficient discreet inquiry to ascertain the identity of Wien and to consider the possibility that he may be acting as an investment agent for underworld figures.
The New York field office replied back to Director Hoover the next day by airtel dated 8/27/59 concerning Wien which stated "through appropriate liaison CIS, NYCPD (Police Intelligence Unit) advised they have no information," and "no indication to date WIEN acting for underworld element" with "investigation NY continuing."
A subsequent airtel from New York to Director Hoover cleared Wien of underworld ties, and the 9/8/59 memo provides the following:
Discrete inquiry reflects WIEN to be well known this area as a large real estate investor. Based on limited discrete inquiry, no indication WIEN is acting as investment agent for underworld. No further inquiry contemplated.
Large real estate investor, indeed. The FBI checked Wien's accounts at Trade Bank and Trust Company at 38th Street and 7th Avenue "which listed a personal account and 100 affiliated accounts . . . with balances in seven figures."
At the time the Desert Inn announced its deal with Lawrence Wien the hotel spokesman said "Wien heads groups which collectively are the largest private real estate investors in the United States," and their "total holdings . . . are valued at about 600 million dollars" including a recent acquisition of "the Plaza Hotel in New York City under a similar lease-back deal for 21 million dollars" according to The Associated Press.