At Resorts World, this taco stand still has plenty of Vegas chips By John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports April 27, 2022 at 5:52 pm With a high degree of confidence, last week Resorts World Las Vegas issued a statement flatly denying allegations that a convicted felon owned a piece of the Tacos El Cabrón restaurant located in the Strip’s newest casino kingdom. The character in question, David Stroj, was accused in a 2015 federal indictment of heading what the FBI called a $10 million international gambling ring that laundered its profits through California card rooms and Las Vegas casinos. He also had an illegal bookmaking history back in Philadelphia, where police listed him as an organized-crime associate. As with so many illegal gambling and money-laundering cases that generate such loud headlines, the outcome was far less dramatic. For his part, Stroj was convicted in 2018 of illegal bookmaking and sentenced to 18 months and three years of supervised release. The allegation of Stroj’s connection to the restaurant was raised in a recent deposition for a bankruptcy-fraud lawsuit involving defendant Brandon Sattler. A former customer at Resorts World and high roller at many casinos in recent years, Sattler also has a bank-fraud conviction. The allegation was also leveled by Robert J. Cipriani, an FBI informant and 86’d player at Resorts World who is now accused of cheating at gambling and the theft of a cell phone. Cipriani, who goes by “Robin Hood 702” on social media, was hit with a bench warrant for his arrest and an order of no bail in connection with the tepid charges against him. As a fan of tacos in all their forms, I take them pretty seriously. But even with that, this seems like a lot of intrigue over a glorified taco stand. Could this be hidden ownership by La Salsa Nostra? The casino’s statement couldn’t be clearer: “David Stroj is not now, nor has he ever been, a manager or owner of Tacos El Cabrón. Peter Stroj, who we have learned is David Stroj’s father, is a manager. Resorts World Las Vegas did a complete due diligence on the tenant prior to entering into the lease agreement.” In his deposition, Sattler also accused Resorts World President Scott Sibella of all manner of salacious behavior — even a business association with the taco stand. Per the company: “The claims made in this deposition are maliciously false and unfounded. All information relative to Mr. Sibella’s acquaintance with this individual as a customer was provided to the Gaming Control Board.” Now drop the chalupa and back away. And talk about confidence. Dave Stroj, whom I do not like to refer to by his street nickname “Fat Dave,” given that I have battled my own weight problems, even emailed The Nevada Independent gaming reporter Howard Stutz to clarify his criminal conviction. In the missive, he stressed he wasn’t guilty of money laundering — he only bragged about it — and further distanced himself from the restaurant’s ownership or management. Tacos? What tacos? With accusations and denials flying, the Gaming Control Board let it be known last week that it was looking into the issue. Who knows? Maybe investigators will find other businesses with complicated ownership. When the GCB goes looking, it will find some names in common with Tacos El Cabrón and Stroj’s indictment. Judge for yourself whether the company has confidently talked its way into having more explaining to do. First there’s Jaime Behar, a managing partner of Abyan Properties LLC, which operates Tacos El Cabrón in San Diego and Las Vegas. There is also a Jaime Behar listed among the two dozen or so defendants in the Stroj illegal gambling case. Charges against Behar were dismissed. Then there’s Jean-Paul Rojo, described in a 2018 San Diego Magazine article as the operator of Tacos El Cabrón in that city’s Gaslamp district. Rojo’s name was also among those listed in the illegal-bookmaking count of the Stroj indictment. In 2020, the early termination of Rojo’s supervised release was unopposed. When crunch time finally arrives, we’ll see who winds up with indigestion.