Business - Tourism Resort seeks settlement with Asian lawyers assoc.

By Alex Kennedy

Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said he is seeking to settle a dispute with an Asian law association that refused to pay for a conference at his newly opened Singapore casino resort.

Marina Bay Sands sued the Inter-Pacific Bar Association on May 14, arguing the bar association owed 300,000 Singapore dollars ($212,000) for the conference held May 2 to May 5. The lawyer group countersued earlier this month, claiming Sands allegedly misrepresented the quality of its facilities and breached their agreement.

"Our policy is to make love, not war," Adelson said Wednesday at a news conference. "We want to resolve the matter amicably if we can."

"The whole thing will go away if everybody cools off and we'll work out a settlement."

The Tokyo-based IPBA said Marina Bay Sands promised world-class facilities but the conference, the resort's first, was beset with problems including a leaky roof, power failures and unfinished hotel rooms. The IPBA said it stopped payment on two checks it had given Marina Bay Sands because the payments were made under duress, force and fear.

Sands officials denied they opened the resort -- which was plagued by cost overruns and months of delays -- too soon.

"We opened as soon as we could in order to satisfy the demands for the property," said Sands president and chief operating officer Michael Leven.

Adelson was in Singapore for the opening of 1,597 of the resort's 2,560 hotel rooms and the 340-meter (1,115-foot) SkyPark which connects the hotel's three 55-story towers. The Sands initially opened the casino, shopping mall, convention center and 963 rooms on April 27.

About 750,000 people a month are visiting the casino, Adelson said.

"We have had very good attendance," said Thomas Arasi, the resort's president. "We're very comfortable where we are in terms of accounts and numbers."

Singapore is hoping the $5.7 billion casino resort will boost tourist arrivals and add to the city-state's appeal to foreign workers, who account for about a quarter of the island's 5 million population.

Adelson said Sands is considering projects in Spain, Italy, Greece and South Korea and he plans to meet with Korean officials this weekend.

"If the government will allow Korean nationals to come into the casino, the answer is yes," he said. "We're looking at different locations in the Seoul area."

Marina Bay Sands plans to open a museum and a theater by the end of the year and another theater by March 2011.

Singing stars Diana Ross and Kelly Rowland are scheduled to perform this week at the resort.

Published: Thu, Jun 24, 2010