Excerpt from And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records:
We were still a new label with a limited roster, a colossal bust that was the joke of the industry, and, most importantly, no money. Our financial liquidity was awful. One Monday morning, Neil, who was looking unusually downcast, walked into my office, sat in a rattan chair, and said, “Larry, we need ten thousand dollars to make payroll for the week. We’re out of money, and I’m out of ideas.” This was the guy who could walk through the eye of a hurricane saying, “How about that wind at our backs!” I wasn’t surprised that we were out of money, but to hear Neil say it out loud was sobering. “My dad has some money,” I said. “I’m sure he’d offer the cash if I asked.” Neil rejected the idea immediately: “No way. I like Uncle Oscar a ton, and I am not going to put him in that position.” Neil felt weird accepting money from my father for something he was not sure would be successful. He had no idea when the money would be paid back, if ever. Casablanca could fold at any second.
Neil tried various money sources, but he found no takers. On Thursday of that week, he ducked into my office, said “I’m going to Vegas,” and disappeared. I assumed he was going to gamble at the casinos to try to win enough to cover payroll. I was only partly correct. Unbeknownst to me, he had a line of credit at one (or more) of the casinos. He cashed in the line and flew back to LA on Friday to pay our salaries.
Cashing in a line of credit sounds like a simple financial move, and it was. But it was also a big gamble, because in the 1970s Las Vegas was still largely a Mob-run town. The casinos would not become comparatively clean corporate entities until the late 1980s. Neil was able to pay back his line of credit before anyone knew what he’d done. When I asked why he hadn’t gone through Arnold Feldman’s contacts and borrowed directly from the Mob, he told me that once you’d dealt with the Mafia on that level, you would never get rid of them.