Monday, July 04, 2011

Celebrity Lawsuit Over Las Vegas Real Estate

Las Vegas is in the news again, but this time the scoop involves a celebrity lawsuit over Las Vegas real estate. It seems Baywatch star Pamela Anderson is suing developer Laurence Hallier for $1M, and Hallier is counter suing Anderson for $22M for loss of sales in the Panorama Towers high rise project.

Panorama was originally slated to be a four building high rise development directly behind the MGM City Center project. Hallier completed two of the buildings, and in April of 2006 Pamela Anderson hosted the ground breaking for the third tower, previously known as Panorama North. But a collapse of the U.S. economy and the local Las Vegas housing market left Hallier and his business partners short of funds. The building was sold to pay off debt and Panorama North became “The Martin” which recently launched its new brand.

Anderson’s claim: She had agreed to give public appearances to promote the Panorama high rise development in exchange for a penthouse suite of her own. Part of the deal was that if the condo was not finished on time, she would receive $1M in cash for her efforts. She filed suit against Hallier claiming that she never received the condo or the agreed upon fee of $1 million. (Leonardo di Caprio did receive a condo in exchange for his sales efforts.)

Hallier’s counter claim: Anderson reneged on promotional appearances which led to him losing $22M in condo sales.

As one who has never been more than a 5 on her best day, just on general principal I have to hate a perfect 10 like Pamela Anderson who sets the bar way too high for most mortal women. (Please don’t take this personally, Pamela. I also hate Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Farah Fawcett, Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez among others, not to mention Virginia Saunders from 8th grade who stole my childhood sweetheart with her blond cover girl looks.) But to hold Anderson responsible for losing $22M in condo sales?

I have no idea whether or not Anderson’s claim for $1M in lieu of a condo is valid, as I am not privy to the contracts she signed with Hallier. Obviously Anderson did perform at least some of her promotional duties. But my personal experience in the local Las Vegas housing market does lead me to believe that Anderson should not be held accountable for a loss in sales. Celebrities may be able to attract star struck fans to promotional functions and generate initial interest in a new development, but a real estate project stands on its own merits as to whether or not those fans will buy.

Over the past 28 years we have had countless buyer requests for homes “near Celine Dion” or “close to Wayne Newton’s ranch,” or “within walking distance of Andre Agassy.” (And yes, I hate Celine too.) None of these buyers actually purchased Las Vegas homes. Most just wanted the chance to get close to the star of their dreams for a brief instant. (We have learned the hard way to ask for financials before putting these marginal prospectives in the car.)

So in my opinion Hallier’s countersuit for $22M in lost revenue is frivolous and should be dismissed. As for Pamela’s suit, who knows? And maybe she really needs the money to pay for the renovations to her Malibu home. After all, she and her kids are currently living in a trailer park waiting for the work to be done.

But if anyone really does want to purchase a condo near Leonardo DiCaprio, we have some lovely Las Vegas foreclosures for sale in Panorama Towers for half the original cost!