By Basil Katz
NEW YORK Aug 8 Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson on
Wednesday filed a $60 million defamation lawsuit against a U.S.
Jewish political organization, accusing the group of spreading
false allegations that he approved prostitution at his Macau
Adelson, the chief executive of Las Vegas Sands,
said in court papers that the National Jewish Democratic Council
had mounted a personal campaign against him based on unproven
and damaging accounts of his Macau operations. Adelson is a
major contributor to U.S. Republican candidates.
The NJDC made "maliciously false and defamatory statements
that conveyed to the public that Mr. Adelson personally approved
of and profited from prostitution" at the Macau resorts, said
the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The NJDC, based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement
that it will "not be silenced" by the lawsuit.
"To be sure, referencing mainstream press accounts examining
the conduct of a public figure and his business ventures -- as
we did -- is wholly appropriate," the statement said.
The lawsuit also named the group's president, David Harris,
and chair, Marc Stanley, as defendants. It seeks $10 million in
compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
An attorney for Adelson, David Olasov, declined comment and
referred calls to Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Sands. Reese
also declined to comment.
The prostitution allegations had surfaced as part of a 2010
wrongful termination lawsuit by Steven Jacobs, a former
president of Sands China Ltd, the company's Macau
subsidiary. Jacobs contended he had seen documents in which
Adelson "personally approved" a "prostitution strategy" at the
company's casino operation in Macau, according to court
documents in the case.
Jacob's lawsuit triggered an investigation by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission into Adelson's Macau
operations. Adelson separately has brought a defamation lawsuit
against Jacobs on July 20 in a Florida state court, seeking
Adelson, who also owns casinos in Las Vegas and Singapore,
is a large donor to U.S. Republican candidate Mitt Romney's
Earlier this month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee retracted statements it had made linking Adelson with
funds it had said come from "Chinese prostitution money."
Adelson's attorneys had contacted the group demanding a
retraction and apology.
"The statements were untrue and unfair, and we retract
them," the DCCC said in a statement.
The case is Sheldon Adelson v. National Jewish Democratic
Council and David Harris, et al., U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York, No. 12-cv-6052.