Federal Appeals Court Won’t Toss RICO Case Vs. Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts
Posted on: April 25, 2022, 05:31h.
Last updated on: April 26, 2022, 05:45h.
A 9th Circuit appellate panel last week denied a motion that attempted to dismiss a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrpt Organizations Act (RICO) case. That action accuses Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts, and others of bribery and attempting to corrupt the judicial process through improper influence.
The case was brought by Angelica Limcaco, who says she blew the whistle on Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct 15 years ago but was bullied into silence.
Limcaco is a former salon manager at Wynn Las Vegas. In 2005, she told senior casino management that Wynn had sexually assaulted and impregnated one of her employees at the salon. The unnamed woman’s employment was abruptly terminated, and she was paid a concealed $7.5 million settlement.
The settlement’s existence was later confirmed by a Massachusetts Gaming Commission investigation.
Limcaco’s account was the basis for a bombshell Wall Street Journal exposé, published in January 2018, that alleged Wynn engaged in a “decades-long pattern” of misconduct against female employees. The article led to Wynn’s resignation and withdrawal from the casino business.
But back in 2005, when Limcaco first aired her concerns, she claims she was fired and blacklisted from the gaming industry.
Limcaco first sued Wynn Las Vegas in 2018 in a Nevada federal court, alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. But Judge Miranda Du dismissed the case in April 2020. Ruling Limcaco had not made her claim within the statute of limitations.
In that case, Elayna Youchah, Wynn’s lead counsel, was appointed a magistrate judge in US District Court in Nevada soon after she filed a motion to dismiss Limcaco’s complaint. That made Youchach a colleague of the presiding judge, and she took up her new post shortly before Judge Du tossed the case.
This, according to Limcaco’s lawyers, raised “serious questions regarding the District Court’s ability to remain impartial.”
Then they discovered that Wynn Resorts had made payments to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (LACSN) that coincided with the dismissal of the case and Youchach’s appointment.
The executive director of LACSN is former Democratic leader of the Nevada Assembly Barbara Buckley, who was also on the panel that selected Youchach for the magistrate position.
Limcaco filed the RICO suit in California, alleging the LACSN payments were a condition of Youchach’s appointment. The complaint claimed there had been a high-level conspiracy to protect Wynn Resorts’ license in Massachusetts, which was then under scrutiny, by quashing a negative ruling in Nevada.
In November 2021, Senior United States District Judge Ronald Lew dismissed the case, describing it as “highly speculative.”
But last Thursday, the appellate panel said it was prepared to examine the allegations, opining that the “arguments raised in the opening brief are sufficiently substantial to warrant further consideration.”
We are pleased with the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling denying the Motion for Summary Affirmance,” Limcaco’s attorney, Jordan Matthews, a partner with Weinberg Gonser Frost LLP, told Casino.org. “Defendants’ strategy has been to engage in misdirection and delay tactics, but the District Court similarly found that their position has no merit. We intend to protect our client’s rights to the fullest extent of the law.”
Matthews argued that the District Court should have considered numerous public records filed as evidence, which purportedly show “a pattern [at Wynn Resorts] that is directly relevant” to the case.
These include the conviction of former Wynn Resorts executive Gamal Aziz on honest services mail fraud and bribery charges related to the College Admissions Scandal.
They also highlight the case of longtime GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy, who has pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Broidy is accused of improperly influencing the Trump administration into dropping charges against 1MDB fugitive Jho Low and pushing for the extradition of outspoken Chinese dissident Guo Wengui back to his home country.
Broidy tried to enlist Wynn’s help in this last matter, according to the WSJ and several court filings, with Broidy and Wynn calling Trump from Wynn’s yacht to inquire about Guo’s status in August 2017.
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