A judge has ordered Tea Party Nation* to pay a six-figure hotel bill for a large number of rooms he booked for a tea party rally, which he later cancelled when the event failed to draw enough attendees.
Tea Party Nation is a corporation created by Judson Phillips.
The Venetian Las Vegas Casino Resort alleged that Tea Party Nation had reserved 1,637 rooms for the July 2010 event, and then cancelled the reservations just a few weeks before the scheduled date. The rooms were not paid for.
In a court order last month, which The Tennessean reported Thursday, a judge ruled that Tea Party Nation owed the resort $748,000, including the $554,000 hotel bill and $194,300 in accrued interest.
This is not the first time a political group has found itself in a bind over an unpaid hotel invoice. In February, the Charleston Place Hotel sued a South Carolina political consultant and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference for an allegedly unpaid hotel bill, FITSNews.com reported.
The conference was held in January, the weekend before the South Carolina Republican primary. The hotel alleged that the conference was “poorly attended,” that consultant Robert Cahaly and the SRLC owed $227,800, and that they had behaved unethically “in an effort to evade their responsibility for payment.”
Sources close to the SRLC told FITSNews that the hotel was attempting to double-bill a number of guests.
The Venetian lodged its legal claim against Tea Party Nation in July of 2011. The hotel makes regular appearances in political news since its owner is billionaire Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
Phillips declined to comment on the record for this article.
*This article was updated after publication to reflect a correction issued by The Tennessean that Judson Phillips was not personally named in the lawsuit; rather, the judge ordered Tea Party Nation, a corporation founded by Phillips, to pay the Venetian.