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Arnold M. Knightly

Lawsuit reveals another unpaid bill for charity event

2 July 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A second Strip resort has still not been paid for a charity event held during NBA's All-Star Weekend.

The MGM Grand's attorneys filed a lawsuit against New York-based event planner Standards and Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association, a nonprofit formed by wives of players and coaches.

The unpaid $138,807 bill stem's from the nonprofit's "Touching a Life Gala" held Feb. 16, 2007, at the property.

The MGM Grand is still seeking payment for convention space and services used during the event, according to the lawsuit filed in April in Clark County District Court.

The lawsuit is the second centered around charity events held during All-Star Weekend to recently come to light. Wynn Las Vegas filed a $50,000 lawsuit in early June regarding unpaid bills linked a charity billiards tournament. That bill was paid late Monday by an undisclosed party.

Brynee Baylor, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney for Behind the Bench, said the MGM Grand is dropping the nonprofit as a defendant in the lawsuit, but will continue to pursue the lawsuit against Standards.

MGM Grand spokeswoman Yvette Monet said the property's attorneys confirmed Baylor's claim.

However, the property would not comment further on pending litigation.

While the MGM Grand feels Behind the Bench is not the responsible party, Standards has filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit in a court 2,500 miles away.

A New York-based affiliate of Standards, The Stanley Agency, filed a lawsuit in February against Behind the Bench in the Supreme Court of New York.

The lawsuit claims Behind the Bench is responsible for invoices totaling $215,437, including the money owed to the MGM Grand, per an agreement signed in January 2007.

Baylor said Behind the Bench has not been properly served with court papers although the nonprofit will "aggressively countersue" once the papers are received.

Charles Tucker, a New York City-based attorney representing Stanley Agency and Standards, called the numerous lawsuits "tragic."

"Two legitimate hotels in the Vegas area with excellent reputations stepped up to put forward these nonprofit events," Tucker said. "In the end, the nonprofit event has left everyone holding the bag."