Steve Wynn Sues Joe Francis for Defamation

LAS VEGAS—According to Nicky Santoro in Casino, there are “a lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes.” Was someone planning to add one more hole, for real?

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court should clear up the question.

What we do know for sure is that the person who thought they were intended for the hole—Girls Gone Wild’s Joe Francis—is still alive.

We also know that the man he accused of threatening to kill him—billionaire Steve Wynn—did not kill him, says he never threatened to kill him and is the one who filed the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the defamatory statements were made on April 12, 2010, and repeated twice by Francis, to a reporter for TMZ and also other third parties. The statements, were, “Mr. Wynn has threatened to kill me,” and, “He said he would hit me in the back of the head with a shovel and bury me in the desert.”

Wynn v. Francis contains another opinion about what really happened, or didn’t happen, between the litigants. “In truth and in fact, Wynn never threatened to kill Francis, nor physically threatened him in any manner, and never said he would hit Francis with a shovel and bury him in the desert.” Wynn alleges malicious intent on the part of Francis and is seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees.

So, if Wynn is correct and he never actually made the comments, where did the shovel to the back of the head idea come from?

Interestingly, Joe Pesci’s character in Casino, Nicky Santoro, meets his end when he is hit in the back of the head and buried in a hole in the desert, along with his brother. He’s hit with a baseball bat, though, and not a shovel, but there also is mention in the movie of a shovel. “Right now, the way I feel, I'll hit the two of them in the head with a fuckin' shovel,” says character Artie Piscano, to his mom.

Could Francis have gotten real life mixed up with Casino?

Who wants to know?