Agency watchdog says SLS Las Vegas got green light for foreign investors with Sen. Reid's help

Associated Press

Homeland Security's inspector general says applications for immigration visas for investors in the SLS Las Vegas casino-hotel development were sped through the approvals process with pressure from Sen. Harry Reid who leaned on the director of the agency overseeing the visa program to make it happen.

A report released Wednesday said SLS received special treatment when the director expedited the petitions after agency staff turned down the request.

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Reid's spokeswoman says the senator stands by his efforts.

SBE Group and Stockbridge Capital spent $415 million renovating the Sahara casino-hotel into the 1,600-room SLS Las Vegas which opened last year on the Las Vegas Strip's north end.

The project is funded in part through the EB-5 program which awards visas to foreigners investing at least $500,000 into a project creating jobs.