The fired former chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Macau casinos has alleged in court documents that billionaire Sheldon Adelson personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company’s properties in the Chinese enclave.
Brad Brian, an attorney representing Las Vegas Sands Corp and Sands China, said the allegations in documents revealed last week were false and “scurrilous.” Brian said the claims had been included in the lawsuit brought by former Sands executive Steven Jacobs only to sensationalize the case.
Adelson, a billionaire philanthropist and casino mogul who owns the Venetian and Palazzo casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, is also a prominent political donor who gave US$10 million in support of then-presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and more recently has supported Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House.
Jacobs was fired in July 2010 from his role overseeing the Macau properties. He sued the companies and Adelson three months later.
PUSHED INTO IT
In the lawsuit, he accuses the company and Adelson of breach of contract and of pushing him into illegal activity in Macau, where Sands has established a strong business presence.
The company owns the Venetian Macao and Sands Macao casino resorts, the Plaza Macao hotel, restaurant and shopping complex and the newly opened Sands Cotai Central resort with three hotels and two casinos.
In documents revealed on Thursday last week — including a sworn seven-page declaration that Jacobs submitted along with a summary from his attorneys of problems obtaining documents from Sands — Jacobs describes an effort he launched after arriving in Macau in May 2009 to rid the casino floor of “loan sharks and prostitution.”
“This project was met with concern as [company] senior executives informed me that the prior prostitution strategy had been personally approved by Adelson,” Jacobs said in the documents.
In his court filing, Jacobs alleges other documents that have not been turned over include records of misuse of “blue card” work permits and the hiring of illegal workers in Macau; e-mails and records of Adelson controlling a “Chairman’s Club” allowing favored members, including known or suspected organized crime figures, exclusive access to Sands China’s most luxurious accommodations; and e-mail requests from Adelson to a Macau lawmaker who Jacobs said was hired as outside counsel after Jacobs was fired.
Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said in a statement that allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing by Jacobs against the company and senior managers are baseless.
“Mr Adelson has always objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution on our properties and any accusation to the contrary represents a blatant and reprehensible personal attack on Mr Adelson’s character,” the statement said.