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Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and major GOP donor, in dire health, lawyer says

Adelson, 85, and his wife gave Trump's campaign $30 million in 2016 and contributed $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 midterm elections.
Image: Sheldon Adelson
Las Vegas casino boss Sheldon Adelson gestures during press conference in Macau on Sept. 20, 2012.Philippe Lopez / AFP - Getty Images file

LAS VEGAS — Casino magnate and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson is not in good health and has not been at his company's offices in Las Vegas since around Christmas Day.

Adelson's poor health was revealed earlier this week by one of his company's attorneys during a court hearing in a years-old case brought by a Hong Kong businessman. The founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. did not participate in the casino operator's conference call with analysts and investors following its earnings report in January.

Attorney James Jimmerson told the court Monday that he learned last month "of the dire nature of Mr. Adelson's condition, health." The comment from the attorney came when discussing whether Adelson could sit for a deposition in the case.

The company on Thursday did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the condition of the billionaire, his involvement in company operations since Christmas Day and on the existence of a transition plan. The lawyer's comments on Adelson's health were first reported by The Nevada Independent.

Adelson, 85, suffers from peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the nervous system.

The billionaire and his wife, Miriam, gave President Donald Trump's campaign $30 million in 2016. They followed that by contributing $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 midterm elections.

Image: Casino magnate Adelson attends ceremony as his wife Miriam is awarded a 2018 Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington
Casino magnate and Republican political contributor Sheldon Adelson stands to be recognized as he attends a ceremony where President Donald Trump is awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to his wife Miriam Adelson in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 16, 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

Adelson is Las Vegas Sands' largest shareholder and regularly participates in the company's earnings calls, but was absent when it reported results on Jan. 23. Sands President Robert Goldstein said at the time that Adelson was "a little bit under the weather."

"We met with him yesterday," Goldstein said of Adelson during the January call. "He's taking some medications making him a bit drowsy, so he decided this morning to take a rain check on this one."

Adelson was expected to testify in the case brought by Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen and his company, Round Square Co. He testified in 2013 and 2008 in the case's two previous trials.

Suen has been seeking compensation because he said he helped Sands secure business in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. Sands has argued Suen didn't help get crucial approval to build casinos in Macau and deserves nothing.