LAS VEGAS (AP) - Former business partners of Nevada developer and lobbyist Harvey Whittemore have sued him, claiming he misappropriated millions of dollars.
In its lawsuit filed Friday in Clark County District Court, the Wingfield Nevada Group Holding Co. claims Whittemore used the money to support an extravagant lifestyle, including $200,000 for his daughter's wedding, more than $2.1 million in private jet flights and an unauthorized salary topping $900,000.
The holding group is now controlled by brothers Thomas and Albert Seeno Jr., who partnered with Whittemore in his master-planned communities, including Coyote Springs in southern Nevada and Wingfield Springs in northern Nevada.
Each brother took control of one-third of the holding company over the last eight years, with Whittemore retaining control of the remaining share.
The suit also names Whittemore's wife, Annette, as a defendant.
The Whittemores issued a brief statement saying the allegations are false.
"We will take any and all steps necessary to preserve the reputation for integrity that we have built in this state for over 40 years," they said.
The suit asks that Whittemore return the money he allegedly took, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages
According to the suit, Albert Seeno paid Whittemore $44 million for his share of the holding group in 2007. The Seenos had warned Whittemore not to spend all the money as he was required to help pay off the holding group's debt.
But in 2008, Whittemore said he was broke and did not have the money to keep his ownership share financially viable, the suit claims.
The Seenos confronted Whittemore in 2010 about numerous discrepancies they found in Wingfield's financial books and he "prepared himself a written confession," the suit contends.
Whittemore had "significant liquid assets in 2008 that he used to continue his lavish and upscale lifestyle including exotic vacations and substantial jewelry purchases," according to the suit.
Kent Robison, a lawyer for Wingfield, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the allegations have been reported to the Reno Police Department.
Police Sgt. Dave Macaulay said he received a copy of the lawsuit, and investigators will review it to determine whether to conduct a criminal investigation.
The suit asks that Whittemore return the money he allegedly stole, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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