Wayne Newton is accustomed to rubbing elbows with key Las Vegas movers and shakers, but the movers that showed up at his 38-acre ranch at Pecos and Sunset roads Thursday morning did not fit that category.
Clark County sheriff's process servers were at Newton's residence about 9 a.m., trying to serve the entertainer with judgment documents pertaining to a civil lawsuit brought by a former pilot, Monty Ward.
Moving vans also were parked outside the ranch.
Las Vegas police said security personnel present at the residence refused to accept the documents, and deputies left the area about 9:40 a.m. The documents now will be returned to District Court as "unexecuted," and no further service will be attempted pending civil court actions, police said.
District Judge Michelle Leavitt in September ordered Newton to pay Ward about $455,000 in back wages with interest accruing at the rate of roughly $129 per day. Court records show Newton paid less than $4,000 to Ward as of September.
Phone calls to Ward's home in Eagle, Idaho, and to his attorneys were not immediately returned. Attempts to reach a Newton representative was unsuccessful.
A similar action by Ward is simultaneously being pursued in U.S. District Court.
Ward filed a federal breach-of-contract lawsuit in 2006 against Newton and a Nevada company called Desert Eagle.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants asked Ward around February 2003 to work as their private pilot for the next decade. He was to start at a minimum annual salary of $92,000, plus medical and dental benefits, according to the complaint.
"In reliance on assurances of continued employment and payment from defendants for a minimum of 10 years, Ward left his employment of 16 years as a captain and pilot with Horizon Airlines and became defendants' private pilot," the lawsuit alleges.
Around August 2005, according to the document, Newton and Desert Eagle decided to discontinue using their private aircraft. The lawsuit claims Ward sent the defendants invoices for his services and benefits for periods after they decided to discontinue using their private aircraft, but despite repeated demands, they refused to pay him.
In January 2009, then-U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval ruled that Newton and Desert Eagle had breached a settlement agreement they had reached with Ward, and Sandoval entered a judgment of about $455,000 against the defendants.
Late last month, a writ of execution was issued in the case by the U.S. District Court clerk. The writ directed the U.S. Marshals Service to enforce the judgment, which, with interest, has grown to more than $500,000.
On Tuesday, Ward filed a notice of his intention to take Newton's deposition on March 4 in Las Vegas.
Newton has had his share of financial skirmishes over the years in court.
The most recent came in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this month in District Court by Bruton Smith, chairman and founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith is seeking to seize Newton's home for repayment of a $3.35 million loan.
Smith alleges Newton and his wife intentionally defrauded him and misrepresented their ability to repay the loan.
A lawsuit was also filed last summer for nonpayment of $32,000 worth of hay for his horses.
Newton famously declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy after becoming mired in roughly $20 million in debt about 18 years ago.