LAS VEGAS (CN) – A developer that says it has sunk $50 million on a deal to make a museum out of Wayne Newton’s mansion claims in court that the singer refuses to budge himself or the dozens of allegedly mistreated horses on the property.
“These actions are calculated to ensure that the museum never opens,” according to the lawsuit in Clark County Court.
CSD LLC says it bought Newton’s 40-acre Las Vegas estate, known as Casa de Shenandoah, for $19.5 million in June 2010.
Newton, whose company, Sacred Land, owns 20 percent of CSD, lives in a mansion on the property, but CSD says that mansion is “to be one of the project’s main attractions available by museum patrons.”
Newton and his family were supposed to move to a new, private residence on the property, and CSD would cover up to $2 million of the construction costs for that residence, the lawsuit states.
CSD says it laid a pad for the new residence and conducted architectural studies over two years, but actual construction “could not commence because the Newtons kept changing their mind as to the exact location of the house,” the lawsuit states.
“It is quite clear that it was always their intention to remain in the mansion regardless of the terms of the agreement.”
CSD says the agreement also called for Newton to reduce the number of horses on the property to fewer than 20 to allow for horse exhibitions on the property. But Newton refuses to remove any of the 55 horses on the property, according to the complaint.
CSD also says the young woman it hired to be the equine manager was “driven from the project” because “she suffered constant sexual harassment by Mr. Newton and a hostile and intimidating work environment.” The woman has since threatened litigation, according to the complaint.
Newton has also refused to remove a number of “large vicious dogs” that roam freely on the property and who have bitten people on “more than a dozen occasions,” the lawsuit states
“Prior to June of 2010 and for many years leading up to that date, Casa de Shenandoah was, to put it mildly, in a sad state of repair,” the lawsuit states.
CSD alleges that Newton, a well-known collector and breeder of horses, had the animals live “in squalor on property covered with hundreds of tons of horse manure that had accumulated on the property over decades.”
At one time, up to 80 horses lived there, “far more than the property was equipped to handle,” according to the complaint.
CSD says it bought the property because it believed there was “great potential” for it to become a “Las Vegas must-see attraction” celebrating Newton’s life and career.
In addition to the purchase price, CSD says it has invested more than $30 million to renovate the property.
Those renovations allegedly included the removal of “hundreds of tons of horse manure that had accumulated on the property over several decades.” CSD also claims to have made barn improvements to reduce the stench of urine and improve the horses’ lives.
The developer wants Newton to stop allegedly interfering with the project, immediately vacate the mansion, and to remove unneeded horses and vicious dogs.
It says Newton also must turn over memorabilia “needed by plaintiffs to operate the museum.”
Newton has faced financial hardships in recent years. In February 2010, his former friend and Las Vegas Motor Speedway executive O. Bruton Smith sought to foreclose on Newton’s ranch, claiming in Clark County Court that Newton defaulted on a $3.35 million loan.
Newton’s former pilot also won a $455,250 lawsuit against the entertainer in 2006 for unpaid services.
Creditors sued Newton twice in July 2009. One, claiming Newton owed $36,999 for the lease of a Cadillac, was dropped, but another, claiming Newton owes $32,384 for hay delivered to his ranch, is pending in Clark County Court.
Newton is named as a defendant alongside his wife, Kathleen McCrone Newton; his mother-in-law, Marilyn McCrone; and his company, Sacred Land.
CSD is represented by Charles McCrea with Lionel, Sawyer & Collins.