Newton Wins Permission To Open Vegas Home To The Public
Veteran crooner Wayne Newton has won permission to open his lavish Las Vegas mansion to the public following protests from neighbours who fear the move will turn the area into a tourist trap.
The singer has long wanted to open his Casa de Shenandoah estate to fans, but local residents have objected on the grounds the attraction will bring hordes of visitors to the neighbourhood and increase traffic congestion.
Newton took his request to Nevada officials and both sides of the argument were heard at a Clark County Commission meeting on Wednesday (17Nov10). The hearing went in the star's favour and he has been given permission to go ahead with the plans.
Newton aims to launch public tours of the estate in late 2011 - visitors will be able to glimpse inside his lavish home, which is resplendent with entertainment memorabilia including a car which once belonged to Steve MCQueen, one of Johnny Cash's guitars and a watch worn by Nat King Cole, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Visitors will view Newton's art collection and the South African penguins he keeps at the ranch, while they will also be taken to an inbuilt theatre to watch a documentary about Newton's life and see the star perform his hits.
Newton says, "I couldn't be more happy with the decision that the commission made. I am happy, too, that maybe some of the neighbours heard some of the truth about the project for the first time... The last thing I have ever done is infringe on my neighbours. I've heard people say that we are building a monument to myself. Get serious. I'm not that important."
Turning the estate into a tourist attraction will give cash-strapped Newton a much-needed financial boost - the star has suffered numerous money troubles in recent years. He filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992 as his debts spiralled and in 2005 be became embroiled in a dispute with officials at America's Internal Revenue Service, who alleged he owed $1.8 million (£1.2 million) in back taxes.