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Las Vegas Sands replaces president

Weidner isn’t with the company or the board of directors

Updated Monday, March 9, 2009 | 4:28 p.m.

Las Vegas Sands announced today that board member Michael Leven will replace William Weidner as president and chief operating officer, effective April 1.

Weidner is no longer with the company or a member of the board of directors, the company said.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Weidner said he quit after "junkyard" fights with Sheldon Adelson, the casino company’s majority owner.

“Last year, with falling stock prices and worsening global economic conditions, disagreements and conflicts arose between me and the chairman, Sheldon Adelson,” Weidner, 63, told Bloomberg News. “He’s the CEO, he’s the majority owner, and just recently he’s insisted on having more control over the day-to-day operations, and I figured it was time for me to then move on.”

Leven will supervise the overall operations of the company’s U.S. and international locations. Leven brings 48 years of experience to the position, including the position on the Sands board, which he held since August 2004. He was chief executive officer of U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995, which franchises Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites. Leven also served as president and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide, president of Days Inn of America and president of Americana Hotels.

A recent lawsuit was filed against both Leven and Weidner, as well as owner Sheldon Adelson and other Las Vegas Sands directors, alleging they failed to properly oversee the casino-resort giant and are responsible for a huge decline in the value of its stock.

Veteran securities fraud attorney Marc Henzel, who is based in Pennsylvania, teamed with Las Vegas attorneys G. Mark Albright and Martin Muckleroy to file the suit Jan. 16 in Clark County District Court on behalf of shareholder Caleb Hartmann against the board of directors.

Las Vegas Sands stock traded this morning at $1.52, down 25 cents and below its 52-week low reached last week of $1.56.

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