Tag Archives: Chapter 11

It’s not easy being Mr. Las Vegas

Entertainer Wayne Newton’s money woes and legal skirmishes are continuing at warp speed. 

Newton has had a long history of financial problems.  Newton famously declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy after becoming mired in roughly $20 million in debt about 18 years ago and the IRS said in 2005 that Newton owed $1.8 million in back taxes and penalties. 

Then, earlier this month it was learned that Newton abandoned his plane at the Oakland County International Airport three years ago and now owes more than $60,000 in storage fees and now faces lawsuits. 

Also this month, a civil lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court by Bruton Smith, chairman and founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith is seeking to seize Newton’s home for repayment of a $3.35 million loan. 

Smith alleges Newton and his wife intentionally defrauded him and misrepresented their ability to repay the loan. 

A lawsuit was also filed last summer for nonpayment of $32,000 worth of hay for his horses. 

To top that off (if that’s possible), yesterday a large posse of Clark County sheriff’s process servers and moving vans showed up in the morning at Newton’s 38-acre ranch at Pecos and Sunset roads in Las Vegas, trying to serve the entertainer with judgment documents and take his property pertaining to a civil lawsuit brought by his former pilot, Monty Ward.  

Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt in September ordered Newton to pay Ward about $455,000 in back wages with interest accruing at the rate of roughly $129 per day. Court records show Newton paid less than $4,000 to Ward as of September. 

A similar action by Ward is simultaneously being pursued in U.S. District Court. 

Ward filed a federal breach-of-contract lawsuit in 2006 against Newton and a Nevada company called Desert Eagle. 

According to the lawsuit, the defendants asked Ward around February 2003 to work as their private pilot for the next decade. He was to start at a minimum annual salary of $92,000, plus medical and dental benefits, according to the complaint. 

“In reliance on assurances of continued employment and payment from defendants for a minimum of 10 years, Ward left his employment of 16 years as a captain and pilot with Horizon Airlines and became defendants’ private pilot,” the lawsuit alleges. 

Then, around August 2005, according to the document, Newton and Desert Eagle decided to discontinue using their private aircraft. The lawsuit claims Ward sent the defendants invoices for his services and benefits for periods after they decided to discontinue using their private aircraft, but despite repeated demands, they refused to pay him. 

In January 2009, then-U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval ruled that Newton and Desert Eagle had breached a settlement agreement they had reached with Ward, and Sandoval entered a judgment of about $455,000 against the defendants.

Late last month, a writ of execution was issued in the case by the U.S. District Court clerk. The writ directed the U.S. Marshals Service to enforce the judgment, which, with interest, has grown to more than $500,000. 

This Tuesday, Ward filed a notice of his intention to take Newton’s deposition on March 4 in Las Vegas.

Yesterday, deputies left Newton’s compound without being able to properly serve him  The documents were returned to District Court marked “unexecuted,” and no further service will be attempted pending civil court actions, police said. 

The Wayne Newton saga is hardly over.   If anything, it will be rapidly ramping up in the next few months.  Please stay tuned to Las Vegas Backstage Access for developments.

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Station Casinos in Nevada Files for Bankruptcy; Boyd Gaming in Pursuit

Station Casinos in Nevada filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reaching an impasse in months-long negotiations with creditors on a plan to restructure the gaming company’s $6.5 billion debt. 

The bankruptcy case, which includes parent company Station Casinos Inc. and 17 of its noncasino affiliates, was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Reno, Nevada.  The noncasino subsidiaries control the company’s landholdings in Reno and other nongaming assets. 

The company’s 18 casino properties and their affiliates were not included in the filing, and company executives stress that those properties will continue to operate like they do today.

 As this is going on, Boyd Gaming Corp. remains “actively engaged” in discussions to acquire some of the assets of Stations Casinos. 

Boyd in February offered to acquire several of Station Casinos’ properties for $950 million, but Station Casinos summarily rejected the offer, though it was a major focus of their earnings call.

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Malaysian Gaming Company Courting MGM Mirage in Las Vegas?

Is the pre-eminent Malaysian hotel and gaming company Genting Bhd working out a deal with the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas?  Reports out of Asia indicate that Genting’s Resorts World Bhd bought $100 million of MGM Mirage debt.  This debt had been sold as part of the MGM Mirage balance sheet restructuring. 

There are more questions than answers right now:  How will this impact the MGM Macau casino’s?  With the current MGM partner – Pansy Ho – being deemed unsuitable because of possible organized crime connections, is this move designed to bring in a party that the Nevada regulators would approve?  What would the direct effect be on the MGM Mirage’ Las Vegas business ventures including the MGM Hotel and Casino and City Center? 

Stay pointed to Las Vegas Backstage Access for the latest developments.

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Las Vegas Buying Spree Led to General Growth Properties $27.3 Billion Downfall

Long predicted and now a reality, General Growth Properties has finally collapsed under nearly $27.3 billion in debt, much of it attributed to a Las Vegas property buying spree. 

In Las Vegas, General Growth and its subsidiaries own three malls on the Las Vegas Strip; retail, residential and office real estate in Summerlin; and two regional malls for locals- Meadows and Boulevard malls.  Strip properties are the Fashion Show mall, Grand Canal Shoppes, and the Shoppes at the Palazzo.  Their Summerlin holdings include The Hughes Corporation, which owns the stalled-in-construction Summerlin Centre retail, office and residential development.

The Chicago-based real estate investment trust on Thursday filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York federal court, leaving judges, lawyers and creditors haggle over holdings in about 200 complex properties in 22 states, including pending cases for 360 separate entities, including at least 16 with Las Vegas connections. 

The malls will continue to operate during bankruptcy proceedings, which experts say could drag on for years.

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