By: Joe BartelsPosted at 5:29 PM, Feb 16, 2021 and last updated 4:30 PM, Feb 17, 2021
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A donor says he is stepping forward to help pay for the renaming of Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
“Today is the happiest day,” said businessman Stephen J. Cloobeck, the founder of Diamond Resorts International.
He tells 13 Action News he wants to set up a nonprofit to help fund the rebranding effort to change the airport’s name to Harry Reid International Airport, and he says he is pledging the first $1 million out of his foundation to get the ball rolling.
“I’m fortunate to be the fifth son of Harry Reid, an adopted son, and I call him my second dad,” said Cloobeck. “To bestow this honor with him while he’s with us is the greatest possible achievement in a person’s life.”
“He’s done so much for Nevada,” he said. “So much during the crisis of ’08, ’09, ’10. Saving jobs, making sure City Center is built — so many other things that are just innumerable when he was the majority leader of the United States Senate.”
Cloobeck says the nonprofit will be set up in the coming weeks.
The airport was named in honor of former Sen. Patrick McCarran, who represented Nevada between 1933 and 1954. Some say he supported racist, anti-immigrant and anti-semitic policies, but he was also a massive supporter of aviation.
The Clark County Commission decided unanimously on Tuesday to remove the McCarran name and legacy from the airport and instead rename it in honor of former Sen. Harry Reid.
This has drawn fierce reaction — both for and against — the idea.
The commission says no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the effort.