Decades ago, Wayne Newton was one of the most popular performers on the Las Vegas scene. Despite the success that he has seen in his career, he has never been very good with money. Wayne started facing serious financial difficulties in the 1980s, and he’s still struggling today. Thankfully for fans, this hardship makes it so that 80-year-old singer is still actively performing, though he’d probably prefer to be taking it easy. Join Facts Verse as we look at how Wayne Newton is doing after losing all of his money.
Wayne Newton Has Never Been a Good Businessman
According to legend, Wayne Newton began singing professionally when he was only six years old. As an adult, he found massive success as a musical artist starting in the 1960s. Though Wayne is best known as a singer, he’s also a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to the guitar, the crooner can play both the piano and the banjo. Some of the many his that helped put Wayne on the map include “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” and “Red Roses for a Blue Lady”. Given his stature in the real of popular entertainment, one might imagine that Wayne is doing pretty well for himself today. Sadly, this isn’t the case. In fact, the singer is totally broke!
The reasons that Wayne Newton finds himself in such dire financial straits today are many and multifaceted. For one thing, the singer has always turned a blind eye to the business side of his endeavors. Wayne has always been a great singer, but he has never been great at managing his finances. Because of this, he has left many important financial decisions over the years up to people that didn’t have his best interests at heart. Wayne not interested in the business side of things might not have quite as big of a problem if the singer didn’t attempt to stretch his wings so far over the course of his career. The singer has constantly tried to branch out into other endeavors—including owning the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas.
Around the time when Wayne Newton attempted to take over the Aladdin is also around the time when he started having financial difficulties. It was the start of the 1980s, and the crooner was sick of working for other people. For the past decade-plus, Wayne had working for an entertainment company that owned by none other than legendary mogul Howard Hughes. In addition to invested in aviation and Hollywood. And many people don’t realize that Howard was also a big player in Las Vegas. Howard didn’t treat Wayne poorly, but the singer still wanted to be his own man. Sadly, he had to rely on the dark forces of organize crime in order to gain his independence in Sin City.
Wayne Had Financial Ties to the Mob
The first thing that came to topple the empire of Wayne Newton was the public realization that the crooner had mafia ties. The rumors reported in the media, and it eventually came to light that there was plenty of truth to them. Still, that didn’t stop Wayne from attempting to sue NBC News for libel. Wayne actually won the lawsuit initially. But appeals saw his initial $19 million dollar prize whittled down to nothing once it was decided that there was no evidence suggesting that the rumors had been spread either maliciously or on purpose. Wayne could’ve used the millions of dollars, as the 1980s saw the crooner’s funds dwindle considerably. Owing money to the wrong people didn’t work out well for the singer, and he was bankrupt by 1992.
By the time that Wayne Newton filed for bankruptcy, he was around $20 million in debt to various parties. One of these parties included the IRS, with the agency alleging that the crooner owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. Towards the end of the 1990s, Wayne joined forces with fellow Las Vegas figurehead Tony Orlando and the two opened up a venue together in the city. The venue originally went by the name of “The Talk of the T.O.W.N.”. Both entertainers imagined that they were going to be able to pull in pretty hefty crowds, as there were 2,100 seats.
Sadly, there were generally well under 1,000 people in attendance once the venue opened it’s doors. Pretty soon, Wayne and Tony realized that they weren’t making enough money to pay their lease, which totaled $2 million. This financial situation bad enough for the business partners, but their relationship soured even more when it discovered that Wayne had placed recording devices in a private room that he and Tony shared. Tony’s son discovered the recording devices, and Tony understandably upset.
Tony Orlando ended up breaking things off with Wayne Newton after he discovered that he was being spied on. After this, Wayne took over their venue for himself. By the turn of the millennium, the name of the venue changed to “The Wayne Newton Theatre”. The new millennium also saw Wayne having increasing troubles with the IRS, with the amount the crooner owed in taxes increasing ceaselessly.
How Wayne Newton’s House Became a Museum
In 2001, Wayne Newton became embroiled in a scheme that he thought was going to end his financial difficulties indefinitely. That scheme would see the crooner partnered with a company by the name of CSD to turn his home into a museum and tourist site. And similar to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. The company put around $70 million into the project. And with $50 million going towards the renovation of Wayne’s home into a museum and the other $20 million going directly into his pockets. In addition to a museum, the tourist site would include a car was and a dinner theater.
When Wayne Newton made this deal with CSD, there was some understanding that the crooner was eventually going to move out of the property. However, several years after the deal had put in place. It began to appear as if the singer had no intention of doing so. All the while, the money that he owed in other places kept piling up. The IRS sued the crooner in 2005 after it determined that he owed them too much money. Two years later, Wayne made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he abandoned his private jet at Oakland International Airport.
The jet needed repairs that Wayne didn’t have the money to fund. And so all he could do was leave the decaying piece of machinery there for the time being. Eventually, the singer was able to pay to have the jet disassembled and shipped to his home. And where he had it put back together in his backyard. 2009 saw Wayne sued for yet another financial reason. And with the reason this time being that the singer had skipped the bill on several bales of hay.
Wayne Newton’s poor financial decisions over the years have not only affected himself. But have also affected the many animals that he keeps on his property. The singer has an apparent love for living creatures. But you wouldn’t know that based on the way the he takes care of them. It seems that Wayne likes to bite off more than he can chew when it comes to taking wild animals into his care. In addition to numerous horses, Wayne’s property has also been home to monkeys, sloths, exotic birds, and many other creatures. Of course, the singer’s poor finances have made it so that he’s always had a hard time caring for the animals he purchases.
Wayne Is Still Facing Financial Difficulties Today
Wayne Newton sued yet again in 2010. And this time by a former friend that alleged he had let the crooner borrow several millions of dollars. It got to the point where Wayne was forced to sell his home. And which came as pretty bad news to the company that he had agreed to turn it into a museum with! Thankfully, CSD stepped in to save the day. They took over the property, and they even let Wayne live there for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean that the singer was in clear waters financially.
The amount that the singer owed to other people continued to increase. And things were made even worse when his pregnant daughter had to be hospitalized in 2010. Wayne’s daughter began experiencing difficulties that required her baby to be delivered early. And she fell into a coma during the delivery. Wayne was willing to pay out whatever sums the doctors required in order to keep his daughter alive. And she thankfully made it through okay.
CSD eventually managed to turn Wayne Newton’s home into a museum, though tours stopped operating in 2018 for undisclosed reasons. In 2020, around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wayne appeared in a television spot for Caesars Palace. As soon as the city opened back up after social distancing, Wayne went back to performing. This comes in spite of the fact that he suffered a back injury in 2021 that called his future on the stage into question. Though Wayne may be broke, he still has his family. The crooner has been married two times over the course of his career. His first wife was Elaine Okamura, whom he was with from 1968 to 1985. In 1994, Wayne married second wife Kathleen McCrone, and they are still together today. Wayne has one daughter from each of his two marriages.
Although he’s 80 years old, Wayne Newton still has to keep his performing schedule active due to the fact that he owes so much money. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Wayne Newton had ties to the mob. And that he really likes exotic animals? Comment down below!