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Aug 14 2012

Tea Party Leader Owes Adelson Big

Here’s an interesting combination of right wing politics and finances. Judson Phillips, the leader of Tea Party Nation and a serious whackjob, has been ordered to pay three quarters of a million dollars to the Venetian, the Vegas hotel-casino owned by Sheldon Adelson, who has contributed tens of millions of dollars to Republican causes and candidates this year.

A judge has ordered Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips to pay a six-figure hotel bill for a large number of rooms he booked for a tea party rally, which he later cancelled when the event failed to draw enough attendees.

The Venetian Las Vegas Casino Resort alleged that Phillips had reserved 1,637 rooms for the July 2010 event, and then cancelled the reservations just a few weeks before the scheduled date. He did not pay for the rooms.

In a court order last month, which The Tennessean reported Thursday, a judge ruled that Phillips owed the resort $748,000, including the $554,000 hotel bill and $194,300 in accrued interest.

That’s gonna leave a mark.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    daved

    That’s $338/room (ignoring the accrued interest). I wonder how many days of rental per room that was?

  2. 2
    Alverant

    Given that it’s Vegas Baby, probably 1 night. Maybe 2.

    From the party of “Personal Responsiblity”.

  3. 3
    MikeMa

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving asshole.

  4. 4
    imrryr

    @Alverant – I’ve never been there, but I was under the impression that rooms in Vegas are actually pretty cheap and that the hotels just make up the difference in the casino.

    That being said, I agree with MikeMa 100%.

  5. 5
    Chiroptera

    Considering that the cancellation was made weeks a head of time, giving the hotel time to fill those rooms (I would think), that sum of money probably isn’t due to the cost of the rooms.

    I’m guessing that the hotel spent a lot of money and invested a lot of time making the necessary preparations for a big event only to have that event cancelled.

  6. 6
    Area Man

    Man, I just love Tea Party Republicans. Let us count the ways:

    1. Basic incompetence.

    2. Wild fiscal mismanagement.

    3. Refusal to accept responsibility for their actions.

    Let’s please put these people in charge of the whole Federal government. What could possibly go wrong?

  7. 7
    grendelsfather

    I don’t know for certain, but it is plausible that much of the money IS for rooms. The 1,600 rooms that Phillips held is about 40% of the hotel’s capacity, and those were cancelled just a few weeks before the event. Many people book vacations well in advance, and it may not have been possible to fill the rooms on short notice. 1600 rooms X $150 per room X 2 nights = $480,000.

  8. 8
    democommie

    Maybe they should “re-brand” themselves as The Reneglican Party.

    Ed; doesn’t this qualify as wingnut-on-wingnut crime?

  9. 9
    reverendrodney

    “194,300 interest on $554,000!
    Maybe if Adelson doesn’t forgive the debt, Phillips will turn on him for making juice loans.

  10. 10
    Nathaniel Frein

    $194,3000 is about 35% of the $554,000, which built up over two years (this was from July 2010), and was probably accrued monthly. It’s been a long time since I worked with compound interest equations but it wouldn’t surprise me if the interest was around 10%

    $338 per room for a two day stay isn’t unreasonable either, depending on the rooms they booked from looking at the Venetians rates on their website. Remember, this is supposed to be a July event. That’s prime summer vacation time.

    Also, keep in mind this isn’t a family cancelling their reservation on one or two suites. This is over 1600 suites with only a few weeks to turn them around (especially if Phillips had special arrangements paid).

    So, not only has this happened to a very deserving man, the prices (when you dig a bit) really start to seem rather reasonable.

  11. 11
    Doug Little

    Fucking Ouch! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer idiot.

    Area Man,

    Another one to add to the list.

    4. Denial of rampant racism among their rank and file.

  12. 12
    Ed Brayton

    The Venetian is a very nice hotel, one of the top tier places in Vegas. $150 a night and up on the weekdays is normal, and $350 a night and up on the weekends is not at all unusual.

  13. 13
    dailydouq

    And where is the Tax Party Nation going to come up with that kind of money, I guess that’s where all the passing the bucket for cash is going to go. Perhaps Adelson views his “contributions” as just part of his hotel’s ad budget to bring in the suckers.

  14. 14
    Nathaniel Frein

    @DailyDouq

    I’d have to see what specific causes and organizations Adelson has contributed to in the past before assuming he’s in bed with the Tea Party specifically. Depending on how long he’s been donating, it’s entirely possible he’s been a contributor to the Republican Party longer than the Tea Party itself has been around.

    Regardless, screwing over your buddy to the tune of half a million dollars is a shitty thing to do, especially when that buddy has been a big supporter of your party.

  15. 15
    Moggie

    This would have been handled differently in Bugsy Siegel’s day.

  16. 16
    Area Man

    @11:

    Another one to add to the list.

    4. Denial of rampant racism among their rank and file.

    Well this is certainly true, but I’m not aware that Phillips demonstrated any racism with this particular screw up. He certainly demonstrated why you don’t want him or his fellow travelers within a thousand miles of the federal budget.

    @10:

    $194,3000 is about 35% of the $554,000, which built up over two years (this was from July 2010), and was probably accrued monthly. It’s been a long time since I worked with compound interest equations but it wouldn’t surprise me if the interest was around 10%

    According to my quick math it comes out to roughly 15% assuming that it’s compounded monthly (1.25% a month for 24 months = 34.7%). While that seems excessive, hotels are not banks, and the high interest rate they charge is a penalty to dissuade you from not paying them in the first place. This was undoubtedly all spelled out in the contract that Mr. Tea Genius signed. (And on a related note, the whole reason these things go to court in the first place is to figure out who rightfully owes whom what, so it’s not plausible that Phillips is being forced to pay something he didn’t agree to.)

    @14:

    Regardless, screwing over your buddy to the tune of half a million dollars is a shitty thing to do, especially when that buddy has been a big supporter of your party.

    Phllips owes the money to the Venetian, not to Adelson. Adelson may own it all or in part, but there’s a whole corporate structure there that has to be paid with expenses and everything else deducted before any of it can be booked as profit. It’s quite possible that Phillips didn’t even know who owned the hotel, and Adelson almost certainly cannot forgive the debt even if he wanted to.

  17. 17
    grumpyoldfart

    My prediction:
    Judson Phillips will never come close to paying the debt. He will run it through the courts a few more times until he convinces a judge that payment of anything more than $10 per month would cause him severe hardship.

  18. 18
    Nathaniel Frein

    Phllips owes the money to the Venetian, not to Adelson. Adelson may own it all or in part, but there’s a whole corporate structure there that has to be paid with expenses and everything else deducted before any of it can be booked as profit. It’s quite possible that Phillips didn’t even know who owned the hotel, and Adelson almost certainly cannot forgive the debt even if he wanted to.

    You’re absolutely right. I felt it was rather silly of Douq to (seemingly) conflate Adelson’s contributions with what Philips owes. If I misinterpreted that comment, then my bad.

    As a side note, my first credit card had a 13% interest rate. Charging 15% something like this seems entirely reasonable. As you pointed out, the casino is not a bank.

  19. 19
    Pierce R. Butler

    Hey Judson – offer ‘em double or nothing on a single roll.

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