67°F
weather icon Clear

Wayne Newton fighting for prized possessions in Shenandoah aftermath

Updated October 11, 2019 - 10:59 am

Wayne Newton says of the Casa de Shenandoah that Las Vegas has known for decades, “It’s over.” Mr. Las Vegas is now in a court battle to retrieve items from his life and career still stored at Shenandoah.

And Newton can’t have them back. Expect a fight, likely to be litigated by the courts.

“I am outraged that the new owners of my former home want to hide behind anonymity while they refuse to let me remove my irreplaceable memorabilia that I have collected my whole life, the antiques, art, other personal possessions, including family photos,” Newton said Thursday afternoon. “The lack of humanity is astounding. The last thing I want is another fight, but they have left me no choice. I believe that fighting for the truth is the right thing to do.”

Newton reiterates that he still owns the Casa de Shenandoah title and license, and that one day he might re-open the Shenandoah museum and tour elsewhere, though such a move is a far-off goal.

The legendary, 36-acre ranch property on the corner of Pecos and Sunset roads sold in July to the unidentified group Smoketree LLC for $5.56 million. The separate 10-acre parcel to the north, where the Case de Shenandoah museum welcome center, theater and gift shop has been located, sold for $4.9 million on Sept. 24 to Harsch Investment Properties.

A company owned by Lacy Harber, a banking magnate out of Texas and a well-known Newton fan, was the seller in both transactions.

Among the possessions still locked away by Smoketree reps at Shenandoah are costumes made by Newton’s mother, Evelyn, which Newton and his brother, Jerry, wore as a child entertainer; his bronzed baby shoes, a microphone given to him by Frank Sinatra, a pool cue from Jackie Gleason, a violin from Jack Benny, a bow tie from Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole’s make-up kit, and dozens of signed photos (including those from Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and both Bushes).

The Elvis Presley handwritten note on Las Vegas Hilton stationary, which inspired the hit song, “The Letter,” is also in the collection.

Newton has been able to move his 35 prized Arabian horses off the grounds but only after initiating legal action against Smoketree to settle the issue of who owns what on the property. A court ruling on Sept. 18 permitted Newton’s reps to pay a handling fee to enter the property to haul the animals to a separate location. That happened Sept. 27.

Left open is the issue of who owns the financially and sentimentally valuable items at Shenandoah. Newton, as expected, says those items are his personal property.

But Las Vegas attorney Jason Wiley, representing Smoketree LLC, says it is not that simple. He asserts that the buyers expected the belongings — aside from a few vehicles on display — to be part of the purchase.

Otherwise, Wiley says, “The burden of proof is on the Newtons,” to determine who owns the museum collection.

And how do the Newtons actually go about proving that, as their legal counsel Jim Jimmerson said in open court, “These bronzed baby shoes belong Wayne Newton.”

“That is the million-dollar question,” Wiley said. “There is no determination of ownership. If the Newtons provide a document of some kind of agreement in establishing the assets are theirs, the court will need to honor that.”

The Newtons plan to return to the property within the week to take inventory on the entire collection, making a case that they are the rightful owners of the valuable possessions. In court, Jimmerson said, “Everything that’s there belongs to the Newtons, save for three items. That’s the list.” He didn’t specify the three exceptions.

The dispute is the latest development in an ongoing saga at Shenandoah, which dates to 1966 as Newton’s fabled sanctuary filled with stables, his “white house” mansion, artisan ponds and home to his Arabians and many exotic animals. Newton sold off his majority interest in the property in 2010, leasing the property from Harber for his public museum attraction. The museum opened in September 2015 and closed in April 2018; the Newton artifacts have stored at Shenandoah since.

This spring, Newton had sought to buy the original Shenandoah property himself, issuing a $6 million offer to John Munson, Harber’s asset manager.

Newton says he felt that they had an agreement with Munson to make the purchase, and return triumphantly to the Shenandoah. He and his wife, Kathleen, and daughter, Lauren, actually began packing in May for a return to the property, only to learn Munson had sold to the anonymous Smoketree operation — for a price less than what Newton contends he had offered.

Munson has not returned e-mails for comment.

Wiley has adhered to his client’s request for secrecy.

“It’s a substantial property, and they don’t want their names to be public,” Wiley says. “I don’t know what the plans for the property are.”

Whatever they are, will not involve Mr. Las Vegas, who has already said good-bye to his famous ranch.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Central Perk coffee shop opens for business
As part of Saturday’s “Friends” Fan Experience at New York-New York hotel-casino, the artist Nathan Sawaya debuts his life-size, 700-square-foot re-creation of the show’s Central Perk coffee shop that’s constructed entirely out of Lego bricks. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Binion's debuts a spinning bar overlooking Fremont Street Experience
Binion's debuted its spinning bar inside the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon. The Rotating bar only goes at one full rotation per 15 minutes overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Green Eggs and Ham at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas
Scott Simon, executive chef at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas, makes a Green Eggs and Ham Flatbread with pistou, smoked mozzarella, tasso ham and eggs. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Lemon Semifreddo Dessert at Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas
Ashley Costa, pastry chef at Vetri Cucina at the Palms in Las Vegas, freezes lemon curd with whipped cream, sandwiches it between polenta-based crumiri cookies, sprinkles it with powdered sugar and drizzles it with argrumato, a lemon olive oil. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Hard Rock Memorabilia Exhibition
The 2,600-square-foot exhibit, which is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays through Jan. 31, spans eras and genres alike. There are numerous rare and never-before-seen items here, featuring artists from ZZ Top to Nine Inch Nails, Bo Diddley to Britney Spears. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Museum of Selfies coming to Las Vegas - VIDEO
The interactive attraction offers several new selfie opportunities. (Museum of Selfies)
Show of Strength in 'A Choreographers Showcase' - VIDEO
"A Choreographers Showcase" pairs artists from Nevada Ballet Theater and staff from all facets of Cirque du Soleil to design an annual show. (Elizabeth Page Brumleyy/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
David Chang talks about what to expect at his new restaurant, Majordomo Meat & Fish - VIDEO
David Chang tells fans what to expect at his new restaurant, Majordomo Meat & Fish, at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pink Lady and Rosey Mary cocktails at Therapy in Las Vegas
Terence Beach, bartender at Therapy restaurant in Las Vegas, makes original pink cocktails to benefit breast cancer research. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Torrijas dessert served at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Las Vegas
Chef Christian Lee of Sugarcane at The Venetian in Las Vegas makes a dessert of torrijas, a Latin French toast, serving it with a caramelized-apple sauce and cinnamon ice cream. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
David Chang to sell Tasty Patties at Palazzo in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Chef David Chang has announced a casual concept that will accompany his new Majordomo Meat & Fish at Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Latkes, tzimmes at Market Place Buffet in Las Vegas for Rosh Hashanah
Ryan Swanson, Market Place Buffet room chef at the JW Marriott/Rampart Casino in Las Vegas, makes potato dishes as part of the resort’s Rosh Hashanah buffet. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
How Elphaba In "Wicked" turns green - VIDEO
Mariand Torres gets "painted" by makeup supervisor Joyce McGilberry for her role as Elphaba in "Wicked" at The Smith Center. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Hangover is served at The Crack Shack in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Khine Moore, executive chef at The Crack Shack at Park MGM in Las Vegas, makes The Hangover with a fried chicken breast or thigh dipped in honey-butter, sprinkled with Crack Seasoning and topped with an egg. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dessert Before Dinner winner Becky Quan
Nine of Las Vegas’ top women pastry chefs offered original creations built around Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies Saturday night at Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada’s annual Desserts Before Dinner Gala. The top dessert, as voted on by the audience, was an homage to Good Humor’s old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars created by NoMad’s Becky Quan. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chef Sammy D is cooking again in Las Vegas
Sam DeMarco served his first public meal since returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, with a pop-up brunch at 7th & Carson. And the veteran of the First Food & Bar, Rattlecan and Sam’s American has more in store for the downtown spot. The chef, known as Sammy D. to his friends, is taking on a consulting chef role with restaurant that will see some of Sunday’s offerings added to the regular menu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carl’s Donuts in Las Vegas celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day
Carl’s Donuts, a Las Vegas-based company that’s been serving the city since 1966, celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day with specialties themed to fall. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" has a new store - VIDEO
Rick Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star and owner of Gold & Silver Pawn, talks to the Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes about his soon-to-open Rick’s Collection retail outlet of mostly mid-century masterworks at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa - VIDEO
Because of popular request, the 1-year-old Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa, with shrimp, ground pork, neither or both. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial by Fire cocktail at the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Adam Rains, head bartender (also Grand Poobah and a few other things) at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, makes one of the bar’s tiki drinks, (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gordon Ramsay renovating Las Vegas steakhouse - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to re-launch his Paris Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cats owners compete for top show awards
The annual Jazzy Cats event is taking place at the Rio Convention Center this weekend attracting cats owners from around the country and the world to compete for the top show awards. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas serves blackened Cajun catfish - VIDEO
Troy Remer, sous chef at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, blackens Cajun catfish on the grill before serving it with mashed potatoes and collard greens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon at Mr. Chow - VIDEO
This just may be the gold standard for the filet mignon. Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has introduced The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon, which is coated with real 24-karat gold. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working as a mermaid in Las Vegas - VIDEO
McKenzie Kawano works as a mermaid at the aquarium at the Silverton in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinkbox Doughnuts opens third store in Las Vegas area
Las Vegas-based Pinkbox Doughnuts, which opened its third store at 9435 W. Tropicana Ave., specializes in doughnuts such as the new Station Wagon, with Butterfinger; pink-velvet Pretty in Pink; and hybrid Glazed DoughCro Bites. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal, with image courtesy of Pinkbox Doughnuts
Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice early
Starbucks declares Aug. 27 the first day of fall as they make their pumpkin spice items available a full month early. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo at Carmine’s in Las Vegas
Roberto Leon, a line cook at Carmine’s at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, makes Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo with eight pounds of lobster, a pound each of mussels, clams and shrimp, two pounds of pasta and two gallons of sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'American Idol' auditions in Las Vegas
“American Idol” was in Las Vegas Monday looking for singers to compete in its upcoming 2020 season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST