77°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Wayne Newton gets no danke schoen from business partner

The plan to make singer Wayne Newton’s 52-acre ranch into a Graceland in the desert has stalled, with Newton and at least one associate graphically accusing each other of wrecking the deal.

In a lawsuit filed late Wednesday in Clark County District Court, entities tied to Newton’s business partner Steven Kennedy paint a lurid picture of conditions inside the walled compound of the singer/actor/entertainer known for decades as "Mr. Las Vegas."

Those conditions halted the effort to transform Casa de Shenandoah into a tourist attraction celebrating Newton’s career, according to the complaint by Kennedy attorney Charles McCrea Jr.

The lawsuit seeks to evict Newton, his family, several dogs and horses from the property so that work can continue.

Newton and Geneva Clark, a half owner of CSD Management, a legal entity involved in the project, accused Kennedy of creating the problems.

"I will not condone nor support (Kennedy’s) actions or anyone who is supporting him in this lawsuit," Clark said in a statement.

According to McCrea, Newton’s personal behavior obstructed work and "created a hostile and intimidating work environment.

McCrea cited as an example an unidentified female equestrian trainer he said quit Newton’s staff over allegedly being subjected to repeated sexual harassment. In court papers, McCrea quoted from a letter written by the woman’s attorney that describes instances when Newton "would push up hard against her as he kissed her open-mouthed on the lips. Each kiss was wet, sloppy and disgusting and clearly of a sexual nature."

McCrea depicted Newton’s home as being in a state of squalor before June 22, 2010, when CSD LLC purchased it and about 40 acres for about $19.5 million. More than 80 horses at Casa de Shenandoah lived either in a paddock "covered with hundreds of tons of horse manure" piled more than six feet high in spots or in a barn "saturated in a sea of standing urine," McCrea wrote in the lawsuit.

McCrea claims CSD, part-owned by Kennedy, has spent more than $30 million to clean and renovate the property, even as workers were harassed by "large, vicious dogs" that roam the property and have bitten more than a dozen people.

Newton, he alleges, has refused to co-operate further on various parts of the project, effectively halting work.

Late Thursday, Newton attorney J. Stephen Peek released a statement cataloging a lengthy list of misdeeds by Kennedy and CSD, including "failing to build the museum and performance theater, constant bullying and threatening employees, spending exorbitant amounts of money" and not providing proper shelter for animals.

The Clark County Fire Department halted work on a visitor welcome center after Kennedy started construction before obtaining permits, Peek said in a statement.

Peek said the sexual harassment claim was "completely fabricated" by a fired employee attempting to wring money from Newton.

"The (Kennedy) lawsuit … is nothing more than a salacious, meritless attempt to deflect attention from Newtons’ forthcoming lawsuit" that will focus on Kennedy’s alleged mismanagement, Peek said.

Modeled on the current use of Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate in Memphis, The Casa de Shenandoah project has been controversial from the start. As plans moved through the county review process, angry neighbors complained that making Casa de Shenandoah – at the southwest corner of Sunset and South Pecos roads – a tourist attraction would create unwanted congestion in a still-rural area.

The master plan called for a museum housing artifacts of Newton’s life and career in the house, exhibit areas for his Arabian horses and car collection, a car wash, a theater and tours of the home. A 500-space parking lot was supposed to be included in the package.

Kennedy’s complaint said Newton refused to catalog and turn over the artifacts.

In addition, according to McCrea, the deal called for spending as much as $2 million on a new home for Newton, but the singer and his family refused to move out of the mansion to make way for the conversion.

At the time the Clark County Commission approved the project in November 2010, Newton predicted it would open in 2011 and create 300 to 500 jobs.

Newton has sought to maintain a community-oriented image, by helping in the effort to locate a USO center at McCarran International Airport, as an example. But his chronic financial missteps include a personal bankruptcy 20 years ago.

The 70-year-old Newton has counted more than 30,000 performances in Las Vegas spanning four decades at venues that have included the Flamingo, the Stardust, the Las Vegas Hilton and, most recently, the Tropicana.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST