Steve Wynn gave away $7 million worth of shares in Wynn Resorts to an unknown party one month before Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The transaction was listed as a “charitable gift,” prompting speculation that Wynn, who declared he was sitting on the fence during the presidential election campaign, ultimately put his money behind his old friend once the votes had been counted.
Donors to Trump’s inauguration raised $90 million and Wynn was among a group chosen by Trump to help organize the events on January 20th.
On Tuesday, Wynn was made finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), and a day later, it was announced that the RNC’s political director, Christopher Carr, was to become Wynn Resorts’ newest senior vice president.
In a statement released Wednesday, the company said Carr would manage its government relations, charitable giving, community development initiatives, and the expansion of the Wynn Employee Foundation.
No Big Deal?
This apparent cosiness between Wynn and the new administration belies the casino mogul’s frustration with both candidates in the run-up to the election. In August last year, he told the Financial Times he was waiting for a “really intelligent discussion.”
“I’m craving a more substantial conversation, politically and publicly, about the economy of the US and what it really takes to make a better life for its citizens,” Wynn declared. “There’s so much misinformation being put out that it’s also frustrating.”
Wynn Las Vegas spokesman Michael Weaver did not comment on whether the stock was donated to the Trump inauguration, although there is no suggestion that, if it were, it would not be legal.
Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, DC, and a veteran of the Federal Elections Commission, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal there is no reason why company stock cannot be donated to political organizations.
“There generally isn’t a difference between stock or other assets and a more ‘normal’ cash contribution,” said Biersack.
Elaine Wynn Lawyers Barred
Speaking of Wynn Resorts’ stock, Steve Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine, was dealt a blow this week in her ongoing legal battle to regain control of her equity in the company. A Nevada judge barred her legal team from court while she decides whether to disqualify them altogether.
As part of the amicable divorce settlement in 2010, Elaine signed a provision stating she would not sell her shares in the company. But relations have deteriorated since, and she is now trying to wrestle back control of her stock.
According to Bloomberg, it’s alleged that Elaine’s lawyers failed to disclose to the court and Wynn Resorts’ lawyers that they possessed proprietary information about Steve Wynn, which his ex-wife had downloaded on her computer.
“I’ve had multiple stories every time I’ve dealt with this information,” District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez said. “The fact that the story changes whenever some new information come up gives me a high level of concern, which is why I am trying to preclude Elaine Wynn’s lawyer from affirmatively reaching out to anyone.”