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October 22, 2014

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Judge’s decision keeps Wayne Newton museum project intact

Estranged partners want to dissolve project management company

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Christopher DeVargas

Wayne Newton speaks to reporters after a court hearing on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Wayne Newton’s wealthy Texas business partners told a Clark County District Court judge today that they no longer can have a working relationship with the longtime Las Vegas entertainer.

Their attorney, Charles McCrea Jr., asked the judge to let them immediately dissolve a management company set up to create a museum and tourist attraction to honor Newton's life and career.

McCrea said it was clear “serious, ongoing, obvious irreconcilable differences” made it impractical to continue.

But Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez turned McCrea down – at least for a few months. Gonzalez is giving Newton's attorneys until Dec. 7 to gather facts to refute the arguments.

Today's legal action was the latest in a deteriorating relationship between Newton’s family, Lacy and Dorothy Harber, owners of the investment company DLH, and the project’s manager, Steven Kennedy, which have included accusations of death threats.

In 2010, Newton and his wife, Kathleen McCrone Newton, the Harbers and Kennedy formed a management company, CSD LLC, to turn the 39.5-acre Casa de Shenandoah estate at 6629 S. Pecos Road into a museum and tourist attraction. The Newtons own 20 percent of CSD.

The Harbers paid $19.5 million for the property and allotted the Newtons $2 million to build a separate residence on the back of the property. The Newtons claim the Harbers agreed to spend whatever was needed to fund the project.

Since that time the Harbers said they have spent more than $50 million on the project – and don’t agree they are required to keep spending more on it.

In an emergency meeting Aug. 9, CSD partners voted to dissolve the company, which could turn the property over to the Harbers. The dissolution, if approved by the judge, would require the Newtons to leave and take their animals, including 51 Arabian horses, from the property.

Earlier, on June 25, CSD had an emergency meeting and adopted a resolution that the museum “may or may not" honor Newton, with members voting to call it “The Fabulous Las Vegas Museum.” The Newtons are fighting to keep it focused exclusively on Newton and his career.

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  1. I have been going to see Wayne in Vegas for over 34 years. He is a true gentleman, and has done so much for the City of Las Vegas, not to mention all he has done for our U.S. troops all over the world.
    He is the most genuine man I have ever known.
    I believe the Newton's, and I feel that Wayne has worked so very hard to make Las Vegas what it used to be. It was known as the entertainment capitol of the world, and that is mainly due to Wayne's many years of dedication and love for his music. He was the best I have ever seen and I think that the city of Las Vegas should allow Wayne to stay in the home he has worked so very hard for. There are many people that would love to have seen the Wayne Newton Museum, and it would have been very good for the economy of Las Vegas.
    I wish you the best Wayne. You are deserving of living in your home, or on the property forever!!