Jury sides with businessman in Vegas Sands lawsuit
FILE - In this April 5, 2013 file photo, Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in Clark County district court, in Las Vegas. A jury on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 awarded Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen a $70 million judgment against Las Vegas Sands Corp. 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. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury on Tuesday dealt another defeat to casino mogul and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson in his nine-year fight with a Hong Kong businessman, awarding the former consultant $70 million for helping Las Vegas Sands Corp. secure a lucrative gambling license in the Chinese enclave of Macau.
But Las Vegas Sands says it won't be paying up anytime soon.
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 and deliver a license.
The jury didn't know it, but the case was a retrial; Suen won the suit in 2008, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal.
The jury hearing the retrial deliberated for less than two days before delivering a unanimous consensus. But the fight, now entering its 10th year, is likely to continue through another appeal.
"We believe there are compelling and sufficient grounds on which to appeal this verdict, and we will do so aggressively," Sands spokesman Ron Reese said.
Suen remained straight-faced after the verdict was read, as he had throughout the trial, while Sands attorneys pursed their lips and shook their heads. Sands attorney Stephen Peek immediately asked for a retrial, saying a juror had revealed secret prejudices against Adelson.
The man in question grew angry during deliberations Monday and taunted a fellow juror, saying she was afraid of Adelson. The woman later asked Judge Rob Bare if she could sit separately from the rest of the jury because she felt disrespected. She was later convinced to sit with the jury and proceed with the deliberations.
On Tuesday, Bare said he found the mistrial argument unconvincing and noted Sands could've made the objection before the verdict was announced.
As he walked out of the courtroom, Suen, 60, said he would be "eternally grateful" to Sin City.
"I believe that justice will be served eventually," he said. "I've always kept my faith with the Las Vegas community, and I've been proven right. Twice."
Adelson 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.