Ex-Wynn Staffer Sues Company, CEO Maddox, Seeks Damages For Privacy Invasion

Posted on: October 18, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2019, 10:41h.

Jorgen Nielsen, the former Wynn Las Vegas hairstylist turned whistleblower, is suing the gaming company, CEO Matt Maddox, and two other high-level ex-employees, alleging they invaded his privacy.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox is one of several defendants in a suit brought by a former staffer alleging invasion of privacy. (Image: Boston Globe)

According to documents obtained by Casino.org, Nielsen, in a complaint filed in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada, is seeking damages “in excess of $50,000.” In addition to the company and Maddox, former general counsel Kim Sinatra and ex-security director James Stern are named in the suit.

Nielsen, who was the artistic director of the salon at the Wynn Las Vegas and later at the Encore, was one of the on-the-record sources in the 2018 bombshell Wall Street Journal article highlighting Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct that prompted his ouster from the gaming company he founded. Nielsen’s suit confirms he spoke with media outlets in January 2018 “about events and what he knew about the observable effects of Steve Wynn’s misconduct.”

Past and some current Wynn Resorts executives, perhaps even the individual named defendants, ignored, enabled, facilitated and covered up decades of wrongful, abusive, sex-based Steve Wynn misconduct in the Wynn Resorts workplace,” according to Nielsen’s suit.

The stylist was replaced in 2013 by Claud Baruk, previously the personal hairdresser to Andrea Wynn, Steve’s current wife. Las Vegas-based Maier Guiterrez & Associates is representing the plaintiff.

Spy Games

In the complaint, Nielsen asserts the Stern, formerly Wynn Resorts vice president of corporate security, spied on him at his new place of employment. The suit mentions testimony by Stern given earlier this year before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), ahead of the opening of Encore Boston Harbor in which the former security leader confessed to spying on former staffers at the behest of Steve Wynn.

“It appears from this testimony at the Mass Gaming Adjudicatory Hearings that Defendant Stern conceived of the operation, which was approved by Defendants Sinatra and Maddox, and was then executed,” according to the court documents. “It involved sending an undercover operative to Nielsen’s place of business (the salon at the Palms Casino Resort) in late March 2018 under the guise of being a legitimate salon client, and having the undercover operative question Plaintiff Nielsen.”

Nielsen’s attorneys claim the operation was approved after Steve Wynn had resigned his positions in the company and following his liquidation of financial interest in the gaming giant.

Wynn would later file a defamation suite against Nielsen, labeling the hairdresser as a “disgruntled former employee” and one with “personal animus, dislike, and anger” toward the former casino boss.

Nielsen’s suit goes on to say that in the summer of 2018, Maddox, Sinatra and Stern did nothing to distance themselves from Wynn’s “misuse of litigation to intimidate and crush those who had spoken out truthfully against him and to remedy years of complicity (by his high-level corporate executives, including the individual defendants), which ignored, enabled, facilitated, tolerated and paid for his misconduct.”

And The List Grows

Nielsen’s complaint is the latest in a growing list of suits against the gaming company stemming from Wynn’s alleged improprieties.

Late last month, counsel for Brenna Schrader, a massage therapist at Wynn Las Vegas, filed a class action complaint against the company and Wynn himself, alleging she endured a hostile work environment. She claimed that executives made it difficult for female staffers to defend themselves against sexual harassment.

Just a few days later, nine women sued the company, claiming then-Wynn Resorts President Maurice Wooden told salon workers to avoid talking to the press and that if they did, there could be reprisal. That suit’s claims for relief include sexual discrimination, retaliation, invasion of privacy and purposeful infliction of emotional duress.