Depending on whom you believe, prominent Nevada businessman and lobbyist Harvey Whittemore is either uses his companies’ finances as his personal bank account, or he is the victim of unwittingly getting into business with an unscrupulous family with criminal ties that has forced him and his family to turn over millions of dollars in cash and personal property.

Whittemore and a California family that invested in several of Whittemore’s businesses have traded lawsuits against each other in Nevada. Each suit, especially the one filed by Whittemore on Feb. 1, contains colorful accusations against the other parties. What is known is that the California family’s investment in Whittemore’s companies, including Wingfield Nevada Group Holdings Co., has been a major disappointment for both sides.

According to Whittemore’s lawsuit, after the California investors bought into Wingfield and other companies, he borrowed about $20 million from one of the brothers. Sometime after that, the other brother approached Whittemore and falsely accused him of embezzling money from Wingfield and other criminal activities. The California investor threatened to go to the FBI with the fraudulent information and even threatened to kill him and his family, the lawsuit says.

After that incident, “ominous” men routinely would appear at the Whittemores’ home and forced the family to turn over valuables such as automobiles, jewelry and art. The suit accuses the defendants of having connections with “organized crime networks” and the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.

In our next post, we will discuss the allegations the California family is making against Whittemore.

Source: VEGAS INC, “Whittemore lawsuits moving into stranger than fiction territory,” Steve Green, Feb. 2, 2012