Sands Singapore casino sued for law conference mishaps, threats


Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Singapore casino resort was sued by the organizers of the first conference it hosted for misrepresenting a “complete disaster” as a world-class venue and for imposing duress, fear and force.

IPBA 2010 Pte is asking the Singapore High Court to assess damages for misrepresentation, breach of agreement and Marina Bay Sands Pte’s conduct, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.

Marina Bay Sands threatened to “jeopardize” and withhold services for the Inter-Pacific Bar Association conference last month where Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, was a keynote speaker, according to the document.

Sands, controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, promised that the resort would be an “iconic venue” and open in a “grand fashion with a full suite of facilities,” according to IPBA’s lawsuit. Instead, power failed during a speech by the Chief Justice of New South Wales and delegates complained of unfinished rooms, shuttered facilities and misplaced luggage, according to the document.

Delegates were greeted by water leaking from the roof into “unsightly” pails placed in the hotel lobby atrium. Some guests had to be sheltered with umbrellas at the registration counters. Other delegates were locked into their rooms because of malfunctioning door latch keys, according to the lawsuit.

Val Chua, a Marina Bay Sands spokeswoman, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Yap Wai Ming, chairman of the host committee for the IPBA conference, declined to comment.

‘Duress, Fear and Force’

“As a consequence of these threats, all carefully timed and orchestrated by the plaintiff to impose the maximum duress, fear and force,” IPBA handed three checks to Marina Bay Sands “under protest,” the conference organizers said in their filing. IPBA later stopped payment for two of the checks.

Marina Bay Sands, built at a cost of $5.5 billion, sued IPBA on May 14 for withholding payment of S$300,000 ($212,000).

Sands halted projects in Macau and Las Vegas during the 2008 financial crisis to focus on the $5.5 billion Singapore complex that opened in April. Singapore lifted a four-decade ban on casinos in 2005 to help it attract 17 million visitors and reach annual tourism revenue of S$30 billion by 2015.

Adelson, who opened parts of the resort on April 27 after delaying a scheduled end-of-year opening, said then that the Singapore casino will be a “grand-slam home run.” A “grand opening” for the 2,560 rooms hotel is scheduled for June 23.

‘Fun Place’

Singapore decided to license casinos to shed its “unexciting” image, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament in 2005.

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