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Hank Greenspun

Hank Greenspun, 1984

Hank (Herman Milton) Greenspun (1909-1989) was editor and owner of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was also a prominent businessman in the Las Vegas Valley, responsible for founding two local broadcasting stations, a cable network, and Green Valley, the first master-planned community in Nevada. He was known both locally and internationally for his outspoken and passionate political views, as well as his willingness to take on powerful political opponents in his quest for social justice and government accountability.

Born in Brooklyn on August 27, 1909, Greenspun attended St. John's Law School and fought in World War II before he moved to Las Vegas in 1946. There he founded an entertainment magazine called Las Vegas Life and worked as a publicity agent for the Flamingo hotel, but soon shifted his attention to Israel's struggle for independence. Greenspun helped send money and arms to the Haganah (predecessor to the Israel Defense Forces) in violation of the U.S. Neutrality Acts. In 1950 this resulted in a felony conviction, a $10,000 fine, and the loss of his right to vote, but in 1961 he was pardoned by President John F. Kennedy. 

When he returned to Las Vegas in 1949 he bought the Free Press newspaper, and in 1950, changed its name to the Las Vegas Sun. Greenspun authored a colorful front-page column called "Where I Stand," which the crusading journalist used to go after politicians that he opposed. Two of his most prominent enemies were Senator Pat McCarran and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Greenspun himself ran for office once, in the 1962 Nevada gubernatorial race, but lost the primary to Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gragson. Greenspun's participation in local politics also includes the mediation of the Moulin Rouge Agreement, which desegregated Las Vegas resorts in 1960. 

After a fire in 1963, the Sun suffered financially and never fully recovered. Greenspun was involved in other business ventures besides the newspaper though. He founded CBS affiliate station KLAS-TV Channel 8, which he sold to Howard Hughes in 1969. He developed master-planned community Green Valley for the city of Henderson, Nevada. He also founded Prime Cable, which had more than 300,000 subscribers when Cox Communications bought an 80 percent interest for $1.3 billion in 1998. A philanthropist in life, his family continued giving in his memory after his death from cancer in July 1989. The Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are named in his honor. 

Sources:

"Herman 'Hank' Milton Greenspun." PBS. July 11, 2005. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lasvegas/peopleevents/p_greenspun.html.

Hopkins, A.D. "H.M. 'Hank' Greenspun." Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 12, 1999. http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/hm-hank-greenspun.

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