A lawyer for O.J. Simpson has threatened a lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino in Las Vegas that would seek at least $100 million in damages over alleged “malice and racial prejudice” related to Simpson’s banishment from the property in November.
Malcolm LaVergne told USA TODAY Sports that he will press forward with litigation if the casino doesn’t make public that Simpson did nothing untoward when he was asked to leave the casino.
“Mr. Simpson has had 100% perfect behavior since he’s been on parole,” LaVergne said. “He was having dinner with a friend from out of town and everything was going great. The next thing you know, when he was leaving, they told him, ‘Don’t come back.’”
Representatives from The Cosmopolitan have declined to provide specifics on what — if anything — took place, and a spokesperson described initial reports by other outlets as “inaccurate” when contacted in November. Reached Friday night, The Cosmopolitan said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports that it was company policy “to not comment on potential litigation.”
At least part of TMZ’s original report was erroneous. The first version of the story — which claimed Simpson had become “drunk” and “disruptive" — also alleged that a dispatcher referred to Simpson by name. A spokesperson for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told USA TODAY Sports that the department was not contacted about Simpson and a search of radio traffic from that Nov. 8 night included no mention of Simpson.
LaVergne said in the letter obtained by USA TODAY Sports that Simpson received a trespass notice from The Cosmopolitan.
"The Cosmopolitan Casino discriminately singled out Mr. Simpson amongst his non-African American friends and subsequently expelled him for what turned out to be a fake reason while he peacefully visited the Cosmopolitan property," LaVergne wrote.
LaVergne said as result of the night, Simpson was contacted by his parole officers and underwent drug and alcohol tests, both of which were negative. LaVergne said while The Cosmopolitan is within its rights to ban an individual, he added that the casino has fostered the perception that the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back and Heisman Trophy winner was intoxicated and unruly.
“We are asking, in newspaper terms, for a retraction,” LaVergne said.
In the letter, LaVergne asked The Cosmopolitan for copies of any surveillance video from that night, a list of employees who were on duty and a copy of the policy on what leads the casino to ban patron.
Simpson, who was acquitted of double-murder charges in 1995, was paroled from a Nevada prison in October after he served nine years in prison for armed robbery and assault with a weapon conviction, a crime that took place at another Las Vegas hotel in an attempt to regain possession of memorabilia.
Contributing: Josh Peter