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George Maloof, Michael Morton reach settlement, part ways

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 | 4:20 p.m.

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George Maloof

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King of clubs: Michael Morton, co-founder of the N9NE Group, is shown at Nove Italiano restaurant, one of his seven venues at the Palms.

Palms hotel-casino owner George Maloof Jr. in Las Vegas is parting ways with restaurant and nightclub operator Michael Morton and the parties have settled their litigation.

The litigation, concerning claims Morton mismanaged and diverted some of their joint-venture assets to himself and to his new wine bar restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, was settled in an "amicable and mutually beneficial" way, the Palms said in a statement today.

"Under the terms of their settlement, George Maloof will take over the management of N-M Ventures, the entity that owns and operates N9NE Steakhouse, Ghostbar, Rain Nightclub, Nove Italiano, the Playboy Club, Moon Nightclub and the Stuff store, all in the Palms Casino Resort," the Palms said in its statement.

Morton has sold his interest in the venture and will turn his attention to his wine bar restaurant "La Cave" at Wynn Las Vegas, along with other business interests, the statement said, adding "the parties have wished each other well in their future business endeavors.''

In the litigation with Maloof, Morton had denied the allegations of wrongdoing and said Maloof and disgruntled investors in his N9NE Group were wrongly trying to remove him from their lucrative venture.

The litigation that was settled included a Sept. 30 lawsuit pitting Morton against Maloof and the Palms; and a related complaint against Morton by disgruntled N9NE Group investors including Chicago-based investment firm Silver Young Capital LLC.

"It was a global settlement," said an attorney for the investors, James Pisanelli of the Las Vegas law firm Pisanelli Bice PLLC.

The parties declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. It wasn't disclosed who Morton sold his interest in the business to, but it's believed that Morton's interest in the business is being assumed by the existing investors as opposed to an outside party.

The Greenspun family, owner of the Las Vegas Sun, is a minority investor in the Palms.

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