LAS VEGAS (AP) — Most fired employees can only dream about detailing their former boss's missteps and mistreatment in open court.
Williams Weidner, who was second in command at Las Vegas Sands Corp. for 14 years, got the chance Wednesday, and he appeared to relish the opportunity to tell a jury what it was like to work for casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
Speaking energetically, but without the jokes and asides that characterized Adelson's testimony earlier this week, Weidner said the 79-year-old Sands CEO had treated him poorly, sought to silence him, and nearly drove his own company to bankruptcy.
This is the second time the breach-of-contract case brought by a Hong Kong businessman has played out in a Las Vegas court. The jury decided against Sands in 2008, but the verdict was tossed on appeal.
Weidner's testimony was the first wild card in what has so far been a rehash of the first trial. That's because Weidner, 68, was still employed by Sands when he testified in 2008.
He was also president and chief operating officer at Sands in the early 2000s when Richard Suen claims he helped the company enter the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.
Suen says Sands stiffed him for his work. Sands says Suen didn't actually proffer any help.
During the first trial, Adelson called Weidner a liar and said he had exaggerated the positive outcome of a meeting Suen arranged with Chinese officials.
He testified Wednesday that in 2009, months before he left Sands, he asked the board to allow him to attempt to rescue the company without interference from Adelson, whom he accused of mismanagement. Among the reasons he cited for his lack of trust was the original breach-of-contract case.
"I had lost confidence in him because he had this trial. This trial was injurious to relations in China; it should have never been in a courtroom like this," he said.
Weidner said the board initially begged him to stay but Adelson, who eventually bailed out the company with $1 billion of his own money, pressured the board to ask for his resignation.
Weidner said he resigned and then was fired for cause by Adelson, who offered him a severance package worth $20 million to $60 million. He walked away from it because of a clause that would have prohibited him from saying negative things about Adelson, a major GOP donor whom Forbes ranks as the ninth richest American.