I finally have a big name to nominate for my list It Didn’t Stay Here, folks getting heat elsewhere for something that happened in Las Vegas: Emmanuel Macron. He’s only the newly elected president of France. Is that big enough for you?
According to the Associated Press, the Paris prosecutor’s office today–yes, today!–opened an investigation into “suspected irregularities in the organization of a costly, high-profile event at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show [in Las Vegas] that Macron headlined when he was a French government minister.”
My list, of course, pokes fun at “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” that great marketing slogan of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. It’s not always true, as you can ascertain quickly by clicking on the names of previous nominees found nearby on this page.
The usual sources of trouble for people having to deal with in some far-flung venue from Las Vegas hangover is some combination of sex, gambling and money. For Macron, it seems to be only money, spent in large amounts for what was billed as a party to promote French high-tech startups.
The AP reports, “The cost of the party has also raised eyebrows in France. The Las Vegas event cost 289,000 euros ($238,000) … including more than 100,000 euros for renting the conference hall at The Linq hotel and other hotel costs.” The event was called French Tech Night.
Technically, the judicial probe seems to focus on the topic of favoritism, which in my days as a newspaper reporter long before become New To Las Vegas usually meant contracts improperly not going to the lowest bidder. But I can’t say I’m up to speed on French procurement rules.
The news agency says it remains unclear what Macron knew. At the time he held the title Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs. It was the labor minister, Muriel Penicaud, who reported to him running an agency called Business France, who reportedly signed the paperwork. She really seems to be in hot water on this, so I’m nominating her to the It Didn’t Stay Here list, too.
In January 2016, when the gigantic CES took place, Macros already was a leading presidential candidate. News account suggest that his CES appearances extolling the sometimes-maligned French tech industry went over well. It certainly didn’t hurt his presidential campaign. But it’s amazing to me how Vegas sometimes can follow people around when they least want it.