Venetian Vs. Tea Party

The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas has filed suit against the founder of a for-profit Tea Party group, claiming he owes the hotel more than 500,000 for a canceled convention.

The Venetian Casino Resort claims Judson Phillips owes $642,000. Philips’ Tea Party Nation is controversial because it is the only for-profit group of the Tea Party movement, and now-presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann backed out of the group’s Nashville convention last year when she questioned how the profits from the event would be used.

The resort claims Phillips reserved 1,637 room nights in anticipation of a convention scheduled for July 14-18, 2010 but canceled a month prior. Phillips apparently paid a $25,000 deposit but still owes $554,000 and about $88,000 in interest, per a March 2010 contract signed by both parties.

Sarah Palin decided to attend the group’s Nashville event, which led to another lawsuit by businessman Bill Hemrick who clamed he lent the convention money to help cover a deposit on Palin’s $100,000 speaking fee but was shut out of the event. The lawsuit also claimed Phillips reneged on an agreement to forma partnership with Hemrick and libeled the businessman in an email.