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Developer suing Wayne Newton over stalled Las Vegas museum

Fans of legendary Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton were no doubt excited to hear the 2010 announcement that Newton was planning to turn part of his 39.5-acre compound into a tourist destination dedicated to his decades-long career. Among the attractions were to be a museum located in Newton’s mansion, a zoo, theatre and even a car wash.

But a year and a half after Clark County approved plans for the project, called “Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah,” the theme park is nowhere near completion. The development company that partnered with Newton and purchased the estate for $19.5 million is blaming him for the delay. The company, CSD LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Newton and his relatives, alleging fraud and sexual harassment.

Among the charges in the lawsuit is that Newton and his family did not move out of their mansion on the property as they promised. The plan called for the home to be converted into a museum containing memorabilia from Newton’s personal collection and for a new home to be built on the estate for him and his family to live in. But the Newtons refused to vacate the mansion, CSD says, making progress on the museum and new construction impossible.

The lawsuit also alleges that Newton sexually harassed a female employee of CSD who was hired to train and care for Newton’s herd of Arabian horses. CSD also accuses Newton of allowing the herd to grow too large and of keeping dangerous dogs on the property that the company claims have bitten its employees “more than a dozen times.”

For his part, Newton puts the blame for the project’s delays squarely on CSD. His attorney accused CSD of mismanagement. The company has fallen behind on construction, failed to obtain necessary permits and not provided Newton with financial statements, the attorney said.

Newton also denied the sexual harassment charge, and took exception to the accusation that his horses were mistreated. His attorney’s statement noted that Newton is an award-winning Arabian horse breeder who has sold horses to heads of state.

This case is an example of a business partnership that began with good intentions but devolved into accusations and litigation. Being careful about whom you get into business with can reduce the chances of a lawsuit later.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Work on Wayne Newton’s museum halted as legal allegations fly,” Steve Green, May 17, 2012

John P. Aldrich
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