Former Las Vegas show producer Jeff Kutash has been awarded $440,000 in a breach of contract case against the restaurant company Landry’s Inc.
The case stemmed from Kutash’s role in developing the now-closed SHe Nightclub inside Crystals at CityCenter.
Kutash’s limited liability company, JK Group, sued Landry’s and subsidiary Carnoso Inc. in 2013 in Clark County District Court.
After a week-long trial in District Judge Jerry Wiese’s courtroom, jurors awarded Kutash $390,000 Friday for claims that included fraud and breach of contract. The jury awarded Kutash another $50,000 in punitive damages on Monday.
Attorney Mark Tratos, who represents the defendants, could not be reached for comment.
According to an amended complaint in the case, Kutash entered into an independent contractor agreement with Carnoso in October 2012. Under the agreement, Kutash was to develop and operated Carnoso’s nightclub project in Las Vegas.
The lawsuit claims Carnoso terminated the agreement in March 2013 and refused to pay $100,000 Kutash was owed.
According to the complaint, Carnoso blamed its breach on the “considerable losses” it sustained during the short time the club was open.
Attorney Joseph Hong, who represents Kutash, said the club was open for a little more than a month.
The attorney said Kutash “infused the element of a live show with the nightclub.”
“It was brilliant,” Hong said.
According to the complaint, Carnoso offered Kutash another contract after realizing it had breached the first agreement. Under the new contract, Kutash was to be paid a total of $70,000 over seven months.
Kutash, “believing and trusting” the defendants, entered into the amended agreement on March 2013 to provide consulting services to a nightclub owned and operated by Landry’s in the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, according to the lawsuit.
The document claims the defendants “never had any intent” to pay Kutash under either agreement.
Landry’s “intentionally schemed in fabricating alleged causes to unilaterally terminate” the amended agreement after having paid only $30,000, according to the lawsuit.
Hong said Kutash, former producer of the “Splash” shows at the Riviera, is now 70 and semi-retired.
Kutash made headlines in the 1990s when he was accused of paying a $5,000 bribe to then-District Judge Gerard Bongiovanni. Kutash had a civil case in Bongiovanni’s courtroom at the time. Both Kutash and Bongiovanni were acquitted after separate trials in federal court.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.