'Political' Madonna angered Wishna


The man who proposed a three-year, $150 million Las Vegas headliner deal to Madonna says he walked out of a 2006 show here because she "went political."

Las Vegas deal maker Jack Wishna said he met with the pop legend in New York City at her publicist's office in 2005.

"It went nowhere, and I moved on to Michael Jackson," said Wishna, who was instrumental in Jackson's return from self-exile in 2006.

It was announced on Tuesday that Madonna's 50-plus city world tour will include an Oct. 13 stop at MGM Grand Garden.

Wishna declined to identify the Las Vegas property he was discussing the Madonna deal with. "It would have been a coup, a great coup," he said. "But once she turned it down, I set my sights on Michael Jackson, which would have been a bigger coup."

Jackson stayed in Las Vegas between 2007 and 2008, when Wishna was pursuing deals for him. Jackson then moved to Beverly Hills and prepared for a series of comeback concerts before his death in June 2009.

It will be Madonna's fifth tour stop here in 11 years. She bypassed Las Vegas on her first four tours, starting in 1985. Sixteen years later, she stopped on her "Drowned World Tour," shortly before Sept. 11, 2001.

During that appearance, Vegas Confidential reported she told her staff that the President George W. Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were not to be allowed any VIP treatment or backstage access.

Wishna said he and his wife walked out of her 2006 show at the MGM Grand when she made an obscene comment about what Bush could do, after images of Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi and Bush were flashed on a screen.

Wishna said it was only the second time he walked out of a show -- Linda Ronstadt was the first, at the Aladdin in 2004 -- and he wasn't alone.

"I saw another 75 to 100 in our area leave (Madonna's show)," he said.

"I'll never forget what Wayne Newton told me one night. He was sick before a show at Caesars Palace, and I said, 'Why don't you cancel?' He said, 'People come here to forget their problems; I don't want them to hear my problems.'

"And people don't want to pay $200 and hear about politics," Wishna added.

CRISS ANGEL ALTERCATION

An associate of Luxor headliner Criss Angel filed a police report Wednesday, alleging he was roughed up in the illusionist's office warehouse.

Joe Monti, whose real name is Joe Safuto, told Vegas Confidential that Angel "flipped out" Wednesday during a disagreement over a magic trick.

Monti, who gave his age as 52 and said he is about 5-foot-5, said he has been a consultant for Angel for years and endured his verbal abuse before. "But I draw the line at violence," Monti said in a telephone interview.

Monti said he was bruised when Angel "bumrushed me out the door" about 4 p.m.

Angel could not be reached for comment by deadline.

SIGHTINGS

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, with a party of 15 at STK (Cosmopolitan) on Tuesday, discussing the Super Bowl. Tebow reportedly flew his offensive line to Las Vegas to visit children in a local hospital. ... Members of the U.S. rugby team, taking in the Blue Man Group (Venetian) on Tuesday. The team is competing in this weekend's USA Sevens tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium. Angel, with fiancé Sandra Gonzalez at BLT Burger (Mirage) on Wednesday, with executives from The Mirage. ... "The Hills" star Brody Jenner and "Saved by the Bell" star Dennis Haskins, at XS's third anniversary party on Tuesday.

THE PUNCH LINE

"An appeals court ruled that California cannot ban same-sex marriage. Let me tell you something. If you want to respect the sanctity of marriage, ban Kardashian weddings." -- Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

 

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