Nevada businessman and one-time political player Harvey Whittemore says that statements he made that were apparent admissions of fraud were made under coercion. In a reply to a lawsuit filed against him in state court, Whittemore accuses the plaintiffs of forcing him to make the statements "under threat of death and/or bodily injury."
We previously discussed the litigation between Whittemore and his former partners in Wingfield Nevada Group Holding Co. LLC in our Feb. 2 blog post. Whittemore and his partners in Wingfield, a California family, have traded lawsuits and strange accusations over the failed business.
In the state lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that Whittemore embezzled money from Wingfield. In response, Whittemore sued the California investors in federal court, accusing them of extorting money and personal items from him and his family through threats and ties to organized crime. In his response to the state suit, Whittemore says that he was instructed by the plaintiffs to recite "precise phrases and specific language" during a meeting with them that appeared to be admissions of fraud. The plaintiffs later used those statements as the basis of their lawsuit, according to the response.
His attorneys also filed the transcript of a deposition they took of a Wingfield executive who accused the plaintiffs of illegally installing a septic system at a golf course owned by the company without Whittemore's knowledge.
Whittemore, a longtime contributor to the political campaigns of Nevada politicians such as Sen. Harry Reid, is under investigation over the nature of his contributions.
Source: VEGAS INC, "Whittemore denies confessing to thefts from partners," Steve Green, Feb. 27, 2012