Massachusetts Investigators: Wynn Resorts Concealed Alleged Sexual Misconduct of Billionaire Steve Wynn

Posted on: April 2, 2019, 09:07h. 

Last updated on: April 2, 2019, 09:07h.

Wynn Resorts purposely concealed knowledge of its founder Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct when the company was bidding for its Boston casino license in 2013. That’s according to a 199-page report released today from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.

Wynn Resorts Encore Boston Massachusetts
Officials in Massachusetts claim Wynn Resorts created a corporate culture that allowed Steve Wynn to allegedly get away with inappropriate conduct. (Image: Charles Krupa/AP)

Wynn Resorts executives are in Boston this week as the MGC begins reviewing the investigative findings into whether the Las Vegas-based casino operator misled gaming regulators back in 2013. Mr. Wynn continues to maintain that he never acted inappropriately with female employees.

“In conclusion, the Investigations an Enforcement Bureau (IEB) investigation shows that over a course of years, a limited group of executives and employees in positions of authority at the Company, including in the legal division, disregarded Company policies when it came to certain allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Wynn involving employees,” the IEB declared.

The investigation also shows that certain executives, with the assistance of outside counsel, took measures to conceal allegations against Mr. Wynn that came to their attention,” the report revealed. “Their efforts at secrecy made it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for gaming regulators to detect this potentially derogatory information through typical regulatory means, which rely heavily on robust self-disclosures.”

Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor, a $2.6 billion integrated casino resort in Everett, is expected to open on June 23.

Deflecting Blame

The MGC is holding three days of hearings to review the IEB report. Wynn Resorts executives – including Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife Elaine who is now the largest individual shareholder of the casino giant – are expected to testify before the commission.

In the coming weeks, the five-member state agency will decide if a penalty is warranted. The worst-case scenario is to determine that Wynn Resorts isn’t suitable to conduct gaming in Massachusetts, and subsequently revoke its $85 million license.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board concluded in its own probe that Wynn executives were made aware of the alleged sexual misconduct on at least seven occasions and did little in response. The state levied a record $20 million fine on the company, but allowed it to retain its operating permits.

The concluding statements from the IEB claim there was no feasible way for the MGC to have known about Mr. Wynn’s alleged wrongdoings. During the agency’s review of Wynn Resorts’ application in 2013, the state summarized Mr. Wynn as “highly ethical” and “a perfectionist who is passionate about everything he does.”

Stephen Crosby, who was the chair of the MGC last year when the scandal broke, said “the people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened.”

IEB Recommendations

Investigators tell the MGC that Wynn Resorts has taken great strides to change its corporate governance over the last year.

Mr. Wynn no longer has any role in the company, and has sold off his entire ownership stake. The company’s board has also been overhauled, and veteran gaming industry executive Phil Satre now leads the group.

Those changes at the Company do not, however, erase the fact that corporate failures revealed in this investigation are significant, repetitive, and reflective of the Company’s historical governance practices,” the IEB said.

The investigation finished: “Inaction and failures on the part of the identified former executives at this publicly-traded Company, which was led by its founder at the time, appear to have contributed to a culture where employees were reluctant to report allegations against Mr. Wynn.”