The settlement in the Suen-Sands lawsuit is undisclosed. It shouldn’t be By John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports March 18, 2019 at 8:00 pm In a brawl that was at times reminiscent of a 15-round fight, the 15-year legal battle between Richard Suen and Las Vegas Sands ended abruptly last week with the announcement of a settlement. That was the final bell in a case entering its third trial, but don’t for a second imagine it was a draw. Richard Suen Sure, news accounts accurately reported that Suen’s attorneys estimate their client was owed $347 million for helping Sands secure a monumentally lucrative casino concession in Macau back at the start of the century. Suen’s lawsuit was filed in 2004. Sands attorneys countered that Suen’s role was so nominal that he was owed no more than $3.76 million. For those keeping score, that’s barely enough to cover the cost of court filings and common expenses associated with bringing this donnybrook to trial over and over — and over again. The presumption is that, in the end, neither side wanted to take the chance on being knocked out. Maybe that’s so, but Sands had far more to lose than Suen, who proved years ago that he was willing to bet it all. Suen suffered brutal body blows and the disappointments of twice winning substantial jury verdicts only to have them overturned or set aside by the Nevada Supreme Court. For his part, Suen told a reporter outside court that the fight was worth the effort and that he’d won “the sense of justice.” He could also say he’d prevailed in a strange land heavily influenced by Sands Chairman and Nevada political influencer Sheldon Adelson, who was unavailable to give testimony in person for the third trial due to a medical illness. That alone is no mean feat. Adelson’s lawyers have said the estimable octogenarian is in “dire health” and suffers from cancer. Given the settlement, it raises the question of whether we’re about to see a change of the guard inside one of the world’s most successful casino corporations. Suen’s legal team argued that if Adelson was incapacitated by medical malady the Securities and Exchange Commission needed to be notified. Given Adelson’s well-known command of the casino brand he built from scratch, it’s hard to imagine his absence not having an adverse effect on the company. Despite an experienced management team in place, a Sands-without-Sheldon scenario would likely send chills through some stockholders. But none of that begins to explain Richard Suen’s odyssey. For the record, he in 2008 won $43.8 million. In 2013, he was awarded $70 million, including interest. By 2016, that figure ballooned to $101.6 million. It’s easy to speculate that the casino giant, already 0-for-2 before a jury, was willing to settle because it didn’t want to risk further embarrassment and even greater expense from clogging the court and dragging Suen through a third trial. Although the facts are sometimes eventually found buried in an SEC document, we may never know the details of the settlement on the record. But we should. The public should be made aware of the details of the settlement. Why? Because Las Vegas Sands is a privileged gaming license holder in Nevada and elsewhere. Although casino companies commonly find themselves as defendants and plaintiffs in civil cases, few rival Sands when it comes to waging marathon battles. Its stockholders deserve to know how the company is being is operated, and what its bosses deemed so important that it was worth spending 15 years and millions to fight. In another era, some intrepid Gaming Control Board member might have shown more than a passing interest in such knowledge. At least I’d like to think so. The Suen-Sands settlement is undisclosed, but it shouldn’t be. Contact John L. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.