Jury sides with businessman in Vegas Sands lawsuit

Topics: From the Wires,

Jury sides with businessman in Vegas Sands lawsuitFILE - This Aug. 28, 2007 file photo shows the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel in Macau. Las Vegas Sands Corp., the U.S. gambling company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, which owned the Venetian resort, is being sued for $328 million over the way it won a lucrative gaming license in the Asian casino hub. Nine years of litigation between a Hong Kong businessman and casino mogul Adelson is drawing to a close. Attorneys began closing arguments Thursday in the dispute between Las Vegas Sands and a fixer who says he helped the casino giant win a license in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)(Credit: AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury on Tuesday awarded a Hong Kong businessman a $70 million judgment against Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino giant run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Richard Suen claimed he was owed up to $328 million for helping the Las Vegas-based company secure a lucrative gambling license in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

Las Vegas Sands attorneys argued Suen was owed nothing because he didn’t make good on a promise to aid company executives.

The eight-person Clark County District Court jury deliberated for two days before returning the award Tuesday, potentially bringing to an end nine years of litigation.

Suen remained straight-faced as the verdict was read, as he had throughout the trial, while Sands attorneys pursed their lips and shook their heads. Attorneys for the company then asked for a retrial, saying a juror had revealed she was prejudiced against Adelson.

However, the judge said he found the argument unconvincing and noted Sands could’ve made the objection earlier.

Adelson had attended court last week for closing arguments but was absent from Tuesday’s proceedings.

Las Vegas Sands has opened four resorts in Macau’s Cotai Strip area, and now makes about 60 percent of its profits in the former Portuguese colony, an hour from Hong Kong by ferry. Sands also operates the Venetian and the Palazzo casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Suen said he was hired by Las Vegas Sands to curry favor with the Chinese government in the early 2000s and was successful.

He first filed his lawsuit in 2004, saying he and his company were promised $5 million and 2 percent of net casino profits to help the company win a Macau gambling license.

Sands does not deny that it once offered Suen a “success fee,” but the company’s attorneys argued the businessman did not make good on his promise to deliver a license.

Sands ultimately partnered with Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment and was awarded one of three gambling licenses by the Macau government. The companies could not reach a contract agreement, however, and the partnership was dissolved.

Macau then awarded Las Vegas Sands a subconcession, a decision Suen’s lawyers said was a result of their client’s earlier lobbying.

Adelson, the 78-year-old chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, offered business lessons and hammy jokes during his three days of testimony in April.



He said his own business sense helped him to see the opportunities waiting in Macau and convince local officials to license his company.

In closing statements, Suen trial lawyer John O’Malley drew an analogy to a person who hires a real estate agent to sell his home, saying even if the homeowner finds a buyer quickly and easily, the agent still is entitled to collect his commission, or at least a portion of it.

This was the second time the case played out in Clark County court, though the jury didn’t know it.

Suen was awarded $58.6 million in 2008, but the Nevada Supreme Court overturned that verdict. Among other things, the court said the district judge shouldn’t have allowed hearsay statements during the trial.

In the retrial, Suen asked for more than three times the amount of compensation he requested during in 2008 because of Sands’ explosive success in Macau.

___

Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 7
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Dinah Fried

    Famous literary meals

    "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson

    Dinah Fried

    Famous literary meals

    "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

    Dinah Fried

    Famous literary meals

    "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville

    Dinah Fried

    Famous literary meals

    "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath

    Dinah Fried

    Famous literary meals

    "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

    Famous literary meals

    "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>