Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 | 6:01 p.m.
This is the kind of month it has been for Wayne Newton: Sheriff's officers and moving vans showing up to Casa de Shenandoah to haul away his personal belongings are the least of his concerns.
Newton wasn't around this morning, at about 9, when Clark County Sheriff's civil-process deputies and moving vans turned up at his famed 40-acre ranch and estate on the corner of Sunset and Pecos roads. According to his sister-in-law Tricia McCrone, who also works as his publicist, Newton was in St. Louis with his ill daughter Erin.
Two weeks ago Erin Newton, at the time pregnant in the third trimester, suffered liver, kidney and respiratory failure and delivered a baby boy via cesarean section. During delivery she fell into a coma and was in that state until last weekend. Doctors are not certain what specific condition Erin Newton is suffering from, but McCrone said they are consistent with HELLP syndrome, a condition that attacks the kidneys and liver, which is set in motion during pregnancy.
Newton had cancelled many of his February appearances at the Tropicana during his daughter's illness — McCrone said he missed all but two or three shows to fly to and from St. Louis, where the 33-year-old Erin Newton lives. Erin is the adopted daughter of Newton and his first wife, Elaine. They divorced in 1985. Wayne and Kathleen Newton have a 7-year-old daughter, Lauren.
Over the weekend, doctors told Newton it was unlikely Erin Newton would recover from her comatose condition, news that McCrone says sent the longtime Las Vegas entertainer into an emotional tailspin. "He sobbed all night," said McCrone, who is visiting friends in Boston and was largely unaware of the activity today at Shenandoah.
Erin Newton unexpectedly awoke from the two-week coma Monday, immediately asking for water. Newton and the medical staff were stunned. She is still hospitalized, and Newton reportedly was with her today when personnel arrived at his estate on behalf of his former pilot Monty Ward, trying to seize property to execute on a judgment that totaled more than $500,000 in past-due wages. Newton's wife, Kathleen, was in town today but not at the house at the time of the law enforcement activity. Officers likely were denied entry by a Newton property manager, McCrone said.
Newton and his family have been hit with bad news, personally, professionally and legally, at least since December. Mary McCrone, the oldest sibling among Wayne's wife, Kathleen, and Tricia McCrone, died suddenly Dec. 26 in Los Angeles at age 46 of heart failure. That family tragedy came just six days after Newton family friend Brittany Murphy, who had joined Newton on USO tours of the Middle East and for fundraising events, had also died.
This month, a lawsuit was filed against Newton in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas by speedway magnate and onetime Newton friend Bruton Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, charging that Newton is delinquent on a $3.35 million loan Smith had personally guaranteed. As a result, Smith is seeking foreclosure of Shenandoah, one of the city's signature properties. Newton also still is entangled in a $32,000 lawsuit for hay delivered to the ranch for his dozens of Arabian horses, an action that dates to 2009, and earlier this month an airport near Detroit claimed Newton owes more than $60,000 in storage fees after he abandoned a $2 million plane there more than three years ago. The craft reportedly is being eaten away by mold and is useless except for scrap.
As the family's personal problems have mounted, it is not certain who is charged with handling Newton's legal affairs. Kathleen Newton, an attorney, typically fills that role, but has been occupied mostly by the illness to Erin Newton and related family concerns.
At the Tropicana, Newton has cut back some members of his orchestra in a tweaking of his stage show and also has dropped the bus prop and young man who portrays him as a youth. Friday performances were deleted from his schedule a few weeks ago, but there are no plans to cut the run of "Once Before I Go," which is scheduled to run through the end of April at Tiffany Theatre.
Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.
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