Singer Wayne Newton, a fixture in Las Vegas, has been sued in that town, along with his wife, Kathleen, and her mother, USA Today reports.
The lawsuit, filed this week by a company called CSD that has plans to convert Newton’s 40-acre estate into “Graceland West,” accuses Newton of sexually harassing a young female worker hired to train the singer’s 55 horses. It also says Newton has failed to care for the horses.
The suit seeks to evict the Newtons from the estate, known as Casa de Shenandoah, so that plans can proceed to convert the property into an attraction including a museum, exhibition space, theater, zoo and visitors’ center.
The story reports: “The Newton family claims the lawsuit is a pre-emptive strike because they had planned to sue the company for breach of contract after multiple construction delays. In a lengthy statement, Newton’s lawyer says the claims are ‘salacious’ and ‘meritless,’ adding, ‘This is nothing more than a pre-emptive effort on the part of the plaintiffs to intimidate the Newtons for their own benefit.’"
Newton’s estate contains Arabian horses, penguins, vintage paintings and 17th century antiques from European castles. The Newtons reportedly struck a deal with CSD for a $50 million project to turn the estate into a tribute to Newton’s music career.
The report notes: “Under the terms of the museum deal, Newton, his wife and his daughter agreed to move to a newly constructed $2 million home on the estate so their mansion could be converted into a museum, initially scheduled to open in late 2011. The lawsuit claims the family refused to relocate or turn over personal memorabilia. The company claims Newton’s home was in a ‘sad state of disrepair’ when it purchased the land for $19.5 million in June 2010, with his horses uncared for and 6-feet-tall animal manure piles covering the grounds.”
The lawsuit states: "The penguin ponds were disgustedly dirty, full of algae and were endangering the penguins, all of whom were sick and many had died.”
Newton’s lawyer, J. Stephen Peek, reportedly said the residence couldn’t have been in disrepair, noting that the season finale for CBS’s “The Amazing Race” was filmed there in 2009.
The lawsuit alleges that Newton harassed the female horse trainer “by repeatedly kissing her on the mouth,” the story reports, adding: “The worker quit and has threatened to sue Newton and CSD, according to the lawsuit.”
Peek said the woman was fired and the accusations are merely an attempt to “obtain financial gain,” the story says.
Newton has been through a number of financial hassles, including filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1992 and getting into a beef with the IRS in 2005 over claims that he and his wife owed $1.8 million in back taxes.