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Wayne Newton on Casa de Shenandoah dispute: ‘It’s maddening’

Wayne Newton says, “It’s difficult for me to sit through that. It’s maddening.”

But there is still a long road ahead.

Newton and his wife, Kathleen, and daughter, Lauren, appeared in Clark County District Court once more Wednesday in an ongoing dispute over property left behind at Casa de Shenandoah. The parcel was sold in July to a company known only as Smoketree LLC.

Incoming owners of the 36-acre property have held items displayed during the museum tour, which closed in April 2018. To be decided is the legal owner of that property. The Newtons have been given four days to identify and itemize all the items, then report back to court to argue that they should own the entire collection.

This is an extension of the original timeline. The two sides have agreed to allow the Newtons back on the property this week and next to finish the job. Newton’s counsel Jim Jimmerson and Smoketree attorney Jason Wiley clashed over why the inventory was not ready for court review.

Jimmerson argued the property was off-limits for a private party during the SEMA convention for three days in the first week of November. Wiley countered that one full day was lost after the Newtons canceled their appointed time on the property as Kathleen Newton had to have a medical procedure late the previous day. Wiley said he had been given seven minutes’ notice that the family would not be able to conduct the work at Shenandoah.

“We believe the inventory should have been done by now,” Wiley said after appearing in court. “It hasn’t … and the court wants it to be done.”

The two sides are to reconvene in court on Dec. 4 for a progress report.

Wiley reiterated his client will not appear in court, and he does not know the plans for Shenandoah under its new ownership.

In dispute are such items as stage costumes handmade made by Newton’s mother, Evelyn; Elvis Presley’s handwritten note on Las Vegas Hilton stationery that inspired the song, “The Letter”; a pool cue from Jackie Gleason; silver horse saddles; Bobby Darin’s bow tie; several signed portraits of Newton with presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush; a flag that flew on the moon; and a mounted microphone from Frank Sinatra.

Newton has complained about the condition of some of the prized possessions, producing photos to the court of framed pictures seemingly stacked haphazardly, a violin from Jack Benny and a ticket to a Newton-Benny show at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe that has been torn along the side.

But the owners claim they own all the items, regardless of Newton’s claims and complaints. Asked if his clients feel they own all of the material in the Shenandoah collection, Wiley said, “Absolutely, that is correct.”

Newton, who this week extended his headlining schedule through 2020 at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, has vowed to keep fighting. He has said that the sale and court proceedings have ended his formal affiliation with the famous ranch, his home from 1965 until he moved out in 2013. As Mr. Las Vegas says, “It’s over.”


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

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