The lawsuit between legendary Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton and the company that had planned to convert his estate into a public museum dedicated to the singer’s career began on July 30 with Newton’s attorney asking for extra security in the courtroom. The attorney told the judge that representatives of the plaintiff, development company CSD LLC, had threatened Newton, his wife and a business partner during a prior argument over the fallout of the failed museum project.

We discussed some of the background over this bitter commercial litigation in our May 18 blog post. In 2010, the Newtons and CSD announced plans to convert part of the couple’s 40-acre Las Vegas estate, where they have lived since 1968, into a sort of “Graceland West.” Like Elvis Presley’s former mansion, the plans for the Newton home included converting the mansion into a public museum dedicated to the singer’s career. The planned attractions for the project, dubbed “Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah,” also included a theatre, zoo and car wash.

But the project does not seem ever to have come close to completion. CSD says that the Newtons were in “severe financial hardship” when they agreed to the project and never intended to carry out their part of the deal, which included moving out of the mansion and into a new home on the property. The company says it has spent more than $50 million on the project but that Newton has refused to cooperate. Newton is also accused of sexually harassing a CSD employee and letting dangerous dogs roam loose that bit several employees.

Newton has denied the allegations and says that CSD mismanaged the project.

The judge denied the defense attorney’s request for added security after determining that the standard courtroom security was sufficient.

We will bring you more information about this litigation as the trial progresses.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Talk of death threats opens Wayne Newton lawsuit hearing,” July 30, 2012

Our law firm handles cases involving business disputes that end up in litigation. For more information, please visit our Nevada commercial litigation page.