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The late MGM Resorts founder Kirk Kerkorian finally makes his dreams come true as US recognizes the Armenian genocide

Posted: April 26, 2021, 8:12 a.m.

Last updated: April 26, 2021, 09:15 h.

Devin O'Connor

Kirk Kerkorian, founder of MGM Resorts, wanted the United States to formally recognize the Armenian genocide for most of its life. Almost six years after his death in June 2015 at the age of 98, this wish was finally granted.

MGM Resorts Kirk Kerkorian Armenia genocide
Kirk Kerkorian stands in front of an international construction site in 1915. The Las Vegas visionary and founder of MGM Resorts has finally fulfilled his wish that the United States recognize the genocide in Armenia. (Image: Las Vegas News Bureau)

Kerkorian is one of the most important characters in the history of Las Vegas. Together with architect Martin Stern Jr. he created the concept of a "mega-resort". During his career that made him a multi-millionaire, Kerkorian built the world's largest integrated casino resort three times.

Kerkorian foresaw and built the International Hotel in what is Westgate today, the original MGM Grand - now known as Bally's - and the current MGM Grand. While business has always been first, the back Kerkorian never forgot his parents' pilgrimage from today's Turkey.

During his lifetime, he donated over $ 1 billion to charities in Armenia. Through his nonprofit organization called the Lincy Foundation - named after his daughters Linda and Tracy - Kerkorian has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to numerous charities around the world, including many in southern Nevada.

Recognition of genocide

While Kerkorian was one of the most philanthropic people in the world, the late casino mogul was his parents' Armenia most passionate. Before his death, he set aside $ 100 million to produce a Hollywood movie focused on the genocide period that ran from 1915 to 1923.

Released in 2017, "The Promise" was directed by Oscar-nominated director Terry George and starring Oscar winner Christian Bale.

More than 100 years after the systematic extermination of approximately 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, the United States under President Joe Biden publicly recognizes this genocide.

The American people respects all the Armenians who died in the genocide that began 106 years ago, "Biden said in a statement. “We confirm the story. We do this not to blame, but to make sure that what has happened never happens again. "

Former US presidents refused to recognize genocide for fear of destroying relations with Turkey, which replaced the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey reacted swiftly, the government said it was not taking history lessons from the US or any other country. A grateful Armenia said Biden's statement was a "firm position" and a step towards "restoring truth and historical justice".

Kerkorian Estate Departs MGM

Kirk Kerkorian's will ordered his heirs to divest the family's stake in MGM Resorts in a timely manner.

At the time of his death, Kerkorian owned 16 percent of the casino business. Today the Kerkorian family owns zero percent. The instruction was completed in September 2019.

Kerkorian's legacy lives on and will be remembered forever in Las Vegas. This month, the UNLV School of Medicine announced that it was changing the name of its school to Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine to UNLV. Kerkorian was a longtime supporter of the school and most of its donations are made privately.

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