Entertainer Wayne Newton is fighting a back-and-forth legal battle over his lavish Las Vegas estate, which is undergoing a conversion into a $50 million celebrity museum. The company that purchased the rights to the project is suing Newton, his wife and her mother, claiming the family purposely delayed the project to ensure it’s never completed. But Newton’s attorney says the move is a pre-emptive strike against his plans to sue the company for breach of contract after a series of construction delays.
Originally scheduled for completion in late 2011, the plans for “Graceland West” include a theater, zoo, visitors’ center and other attractions to be built on the sprawling 40-acre estate, currently known as Casa de Shenandoah. Already it’s host to South African penguins, Arabian horses and other exotic animals, as well as Impressionist paintings and 17th-century antiques. The terms of the museum project called for Newton, his wife and his daughter to move to a new $2 million home on the property so the mansion could be converted. But the company’s lawsuit says the Newtons have refused to relocate or turn over personal memorabilia.
Newton’s attorney, meanwhile, says the company failed to acquire the building permits it needed, which led officials to stop construction on the project. Both sides are attempting to bolster their own complaints with more claims that may or may not be valid. The company managing the project has accused Newton of sexually assaulting a woman hired to train his horses — Newton’s attorney says she was fired and is simply attempting to profit from her termination. The company also accuses Newton’s estate of letting the property fall into disrepair and of neglecting his animals, but reporters taken on a tour of the property say the structures and the animals appeared clean and well-kept. Other accusations abound, and are likely to reach a head when the parties finally meet in a courtroom.
Although the amount of drama in this legal tussle is enough to rival Newton’s own wealth, you don’t need either to seek help with your own contract dispute. Poorly written contracts, misunderstood agreements and missed construction deadlines are common, whether you run a small business in New Jersey or happen to have a multimillion-dollar estate like the Newtons’. To avoid sinking further into counterproductive counterclaims, get help from an experienced business law attorney and settle your disputes the easy way — without the drama.
Source: The Bellingham Herald, “Wayne Newtown sued over Las Vegas home museum plans,” Christina Silva, May 17, 2012