Billionaire casino mogul and Republican party donor Steve Wynn is the latest celebrity name to be dragged into the recent rise in historical sexual allegations that has led to controversy and outrage.
Here’s a detailed look at the various claims made against the renowned US businessman.
Ever since Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein had dozens of females file claims of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape against him, countless other public figures have now had similar allegations made against them. It triggered the #MeToo social media campaign and gave other victims of such acts the courage to come forward.
The latest big-name celebrity to be accused of such despicable behaviour is the iconic Las Vegas casino owner, Steve Wynn. A large number of women came forward to the Wall Street Journal to give their experience of Wynn’s sexual misconduct towards them over a period of decades.
In the report, the women making the allegations share their recollections of how Wynn pressured them to take off their clothes and engage in sexual acts with him during their time being employed as workers at his casinos.
One key witness against Wynn, his own ex-wife Elaine, spoke of how he coerced a former manicurist at his Wynn Las Vegas casino resort to have sex with him back in 2005. It is then alleged that Wynn paid the worker a settlement fee of $7.5 million to keep the incident under wraps.
Flashing Genitals in the Spa
In other claims, ex-workers at Wynn’s casinos have said that the casino mogul was sometimes spotted in the spa with his genitals out in full display in front of female workers. He was also sighted strutting around the casino in just his shorts and often without any underwear on.
Kissing His Employees
One witness states how Wynn would often launch a sudden sexual attack in the form of a kiss in an attempt to get intimate with them.
Wynn has denied the allegations himself claiming them to be ‘preposterous’. Interestingly, Wynn has also suggested that the allegations could be linked to a legal battle Wynn is enduring with his ex-wife. Elaine owns a 9% stake in the company and is attempting to earn a larger share.
In contradiction to this, the Wall Street Journal has stated that no witnesses approached the newspaper voluntarily. The allegations were uncovered by investigative journalists so that dampens any suspicion of foul play from Elaine.
The Casino Mogul’s Background
Wynn, 76, made his fortune through a number of leading Sin City, Atlantic City, and Macau venues. In his early days, he took the lead on the construction of a number of iconic Las Vegas casino resorts including the Golden Nugget, the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Bellagio.
The casino owner also built a number of venues across the US including the Golden Nugget Atlantic City in New Jersey and the Beau Rivage in Mississippi. However, it is his work in rejuvenating the Las Vegas Strip during the 1990s that has formed his reputation as a shrewd businessman within the casino industry.
Despite selling his Mirage Resorts company to MGM Grand Inc back in 2000, Wynn has continued to remain involved in the development of casino venues through his Wynn Resorts company as CEO.
Wynn Resorts has helped to re-shape and evolve the land-based casino industry with the opening of Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, Wynn Macau in 2006, Encore Las Vegas in 2008, Encore @ Wynn Macau in 2010, and Wynn Palace Macau in 2016.
The Wynn Boston Harbor in Massachusetts is also scheduled to be completed in 2019. However, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is set to review this project in light of recent events.
Republican National Committee Resignation
It was not long before the allegations had an impact on Wynn’s life. Wynn was appointed as Head of the Republican National Committee Financial Committee in January 2017 in response to his firm financial support for the Donald Trump Presidential campaign back in 2016.
Just one day after the sexual misconduct allegations were revealed in the Wall Street Journal, Wynn took the decision to step down from the position he had been awarded just a year earlier. Even though Wynn strenuously denied the allegations, he appears think the claims are a distraction for the good work the RNC was committed to carrying out.
Wynn said, “Effective today I’m resigning as finance chairman of the RNC. The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction.”
In response, the RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel declared, “Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee Finance Chair.”
Romney-McDaniel spoke further on the allegations saying, “They were so troubling that within 24 hours, Steve was no longer our finance chair. But Steve has denied these allegations. Unlike Harvey Weinstein and [former Democratic Sen.] Al Franken and others, Steve has denied them. There is an investigation that’s going to take place. He should be allowed due process. If he is found guilty of any wrongdoing, we’ll return 100 percent of that money.”
Nevada Gaming Control Board Investigates
The revelations of Wynn’s alleged misconduct over the years has started alarm bells ringing at the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The gambling authority stated that it had concerns over the allegations and would proceed to investigate the issue immediately.
NGCB Chair Becky Harris said, “After completing our review, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is conducting an investigation with regard to the allegations of sexual misconduct involving Steve Wynn. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will conduct its investigation in a thorough and judicious manner.”
University of Iowa Takes Action
In 2013, Wynn witnessed the University of Iowa’s vision institute being re-named the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research. This ceremony came thanks to the generous $25 million gift donation the casino mogul gave the university to help with its research.
Wynn has himself suffered from a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa since being diagnosed back in 1971.
However, in light of recent allegations, the university has now stated that it is looking at the possibility of removing Wynn’s name from the vision institute, claiming that the re-naming was a show of appreciation for the multi-million dollar donation and not a condition.
A statement by the University of Iowa read “University leadership determined retaining the name would be damaging to the institution’s reputation following recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn.”
The final decision on whether or not to remove Wynn’s name from the institute will be confirmed by the Board of Regents.
Wynn Resorts Taking Financial Hit
Unsurprisingly, Wynn’s business interests are taking a battering in the aftermath of these sordid allegations.
Overall, Wynn Resorts has suffered a loss of approximately $3.5 billion in value since the allegations were published in the Wall Street Journal. This has seen the company value reduced to $17 billion in the space of a couple of days.
The company’s Hong Kong-listed shares have also seen investors run to the hills. The Macau venture of Wynn Resorts fell by 6.5% to HK$28.05 at the close of business the day following the publication of the allegations.