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Palm Springs ranch-style home of Vegas hotelier, alleged bookmaker seeks $2.3 million

Riverside Press-Enterprise 11/27/2019 Sandra Barrera
La Quinta Resort & Club with a mountain in the background: The restored and updated midcentury California ranch originally owned by Las Vegas hotelier Malcolm Clarke, Sr. (Photo by James Butchart) © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise The restored and updated midcentury California ranch originally owned by Las Vegas hotelier Malcolm Clarke, Sr. (Photo by James Butchart)
  • a garden in front of a house © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise

    The home’s entry. (Photo by James Butchart)

  • a close up of a garden © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise

    The walk-in closet. (Photo by James Butchart)

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  • a large kitchen with stainless steel appliances © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise

    The kitchen. (Photo by James Butchart)

  • a living room filled with furniture and a large window © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise

    A view of the living and dining rooms. (Photo by James Butchart)

  • a large room © Provided by Riverside Press-Enterprise

    The walk-in closet. (Photo by James Butchart)

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A midcentury California ranch-style home in Palm Springs’ Old Las Palmas neighborhood has hit the market for $2.295 million.

Constructed in 1948 as a winter retreat, the 3,301-square-foot house initially owned by Las Vegas Sands Hotel co-owner and alleged bookmaker Malcolm Clarke Sr., has four bedrooms, an open floor plan and a one-bedroom casita.

There’s an open-beamed ceiling in the living room. The master suite boasts accesses to the pool by sliding door.

Outdoor features include an expansive covered patio and mountain views.

The listing said that in the 1960s, Clarke commissioned noted interior designer Arthur Elrod “to update the property’s postwar design with the progressive mid-century style that is now synonymous with Palm Springs.”

According to Renee Brown, associate curator of the Palm Springs Historical Society, there are no records of Elrod’s customers that she knows of remaining to verify the claim. Most of this information, she added, is passed on from one person to the next.

Elrod’s design or not, those changes — including a breeze-block partition entry, St. Charles metal kitchen cabinetry and walk-in closet — have been restored to their original glory. The house was also updated for year-round energy efficiency.

Mark Gutkowski of Bennion Deville Homes holds the listing.

Clarke is mentioned in an unclassified FBI profile of Frank Sinatra as one of Old Blue Eyes’ business associates. They both owned an interest in the Sands.

Quoting from a Chicago Crime Commission report from 1954, the file described Clarke as “once a partner of the notorious Capone gangster, Charles Gioe, in a Chicago Loop gambling pay-off establishment.”

He was later a key figure in a Los Angeles bookmaking probe in the early 1960s.

But the Palm Springs vice squad chief at the time told the Desert Sun, “to our knowledge he has kept his nose clean here.”

Late ’60s-era Desert Sun articles, in fact, described Clarke as a “well-known Palm Springs resident” who managed a reservations office for the now-defunct Las Vegas Dunes hotel across from the Chi Chi Club in Palm Springs.

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