|As the head of a major, worldwide casino conglomerate, Sheldon Adelson is arguably one of the shrewdest businessmen on the planet. CEO of the Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, his lawyers have been fighting a 5-year lawsuit brought on by the former CEO of their Macau office, but the casino tycoon’s latest attempts to stall litigation have failed.Adelson’s lavish team of attorneys filed a complaint in December 2015 against Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who’s been presiding over the case for half a decade. They claimed Judge Gonzalez had “interjected” herself into media coverage, and that she should be disqualified from hearing the case against the casino corporation because of it.
On Friday, Chief District Judge David Barker delivered a 5-page ruling, stating that the argument from LVS was “unpersuasive”, and failed to sufficiently provide any “new grounds to remove” the presiding judge. Thus Gonzalez will continue to hear the case, which is scheduled to go to trial on June 27, 2016.
“This court thoroughly evaluated defendant’s arguments and exhibits and found no evidence Judge Gonzalez has actual bias or implied bias in favor of or against any party to this action,” concluded Judge Barker in his ruling.
LVS is being sued by Steve Jacobs, its former Chief Executive Officer of LVS’s operations in China, Sands Macau, Ltd. Jacobs was abruptly fired from his position in July 2010.
The reasoning behind the ejection from his 9-month role as CEO isn’t quite clear, although the plaintiff claims it happened shortly after Sheldon Adelson “pressured him to use illegal means to gain leverage over government officials in the gambling enclave.”
Adelson to Target Judge Barker?
Todd Bice, Jacob’s attorney in the case, believes the LVS Chairman will pull out all the stops to prevent the case from being heard in June. Adelson’s next move, conjectured Bice, will be to file a claim against the Chief District Judge himself. He told the press that “any ruling that is averse to [LVS], they will then claim fault with the decision-maker”.
With an estimated net worth of near $27 billion, 82 year old Sheldon Adelson is certainly formidable foe, and his multi-million contributions for the GOP won’t help matters should he manage to get the right judge in his back pocket. But it’s apparent that his affluence has had no sway over Barker.
Adelson to Face Pre-Trial Questioning
It’s going to be a long week for the casino mogul as Adelson is projected to begin pre-trial questioning this week that could last up to 49 hours. That’s if LVS doesn’t find a way to interrupt the procession.
Bice told Judge Gonzalez on Wednesday that he fully anticipates Adelson’s sworn deposition and further questioning of members of the defense to be disrupted by whatever means the company can manage; the sole purpose being to further delay the civil trial’s start date in June.
“We will start with Mr. Adelson, and then there will be a blow-up in an attempt to obstruct this deposition so it cannot be done,” said Bice.
In the meantime, Jacobs is already cooperating with pre-trial questioning from lawyers for LVS.