Steve Wynn Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Former Salon Director, Makes Early Exit from Wynn Las Vegas Villa
Posted on: April 30, 2018, 06:55h.
Last updated on: April 30, 2018, 06:58h.
Steve Wynn remains on the offensive in defending his character against numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court, the billionaire accused former salon artistic director Jorgen Nielsen of defamation.
Nielsen was one of two people to go on the record with The Wall Street Journal for its January bombshell that publicized decades of sexual wrongdoing allegations made against the Las Vegas visionary. The former Wynn Las Vegas salon manager claimed employees were terrified of the company owner.
“In falsely accusing Mr. Wynn of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, Defendant Nielsen acted with the unlawful purpose of smearing Mr. Wynn and creating workplace issues for Mr. Wynn,” the lawsuit declares.
In the January 27 WSJ expose, Nielsen is quoted as saying, “Everybody was petrified.” The stylist claimed that both he and other salon employees told upper management about Steve Wynn’s alleged misconduct, but “nobody was there to help us.”
Wynn Blames Ex-Wife
The Wall Street Journal piece ignited a public relations nightmare for Wynn and the company. Although he continues to deny all allegations, the surrounding scandal ultimately led to his resignation as CEO and chairman of the board. He subsequently also sold his entire stake in Wynn Resorts, worth more than $2 billion.
Now out of a job and said to be fully removed from the company he founded in 2002, Wynn has been busy defending his reputation.
His lawyers have argued that his former wife Elaine Wynn — with whom he founded the casino company in the early 2000s — was the mastermind behind the WSJ story. The couple divorced for the second time in 2009, but only settled their legal battle this month.
Wynn maintains that Jorgen Nielsen was his ex-wife’s longtime personal stylist.
The lawsuit states that Nielsen’s comments to the WSJ came “at a time when he (Steve Wynn) was embroiled in highly contentious and public litigation with his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn.”
According to court documents, Wynn sent Nielsen a letter last month offering him a chance to “mitigate the harm he had caused by retracting his false statements.” The lawsuit adds that Nielsen’s claims set off an “open season” on the billionaire “where truth and context were ignored, and his guilt was presumed based only on unproven accusations.”
Claims and Lawsuits
Following the January WSJ release, additional reports and accusations surfaced challenging Steve Wynn’s once-upstanding reputation.
In February, the Las Vegas Review-Journal admitted it suppressed sexual misconduct claims two decades ago. Editors at the time at Nevada’s largest newspaper opted to kill the story after meeting with the billionaire, who vehemently denied the rumors.
Also in February, the Associated Press reported that Steve Wynn allegedly raped a woman in the 1970s, and that she later gave birth to his child in a gas station restroom. Wynn has since filed a lawsuit against the AP.
The AP and WSJ have both stated that they stand by their reporting.
Wynn Resorts has suffered due to the scandal. The company posted a net loss of $204 million in Q1 of 2018.
On Friday, Steve Wynn moved out of the massive duplex villa he had occupied at Wynn Las Vegas, which he had agreed to vacate as part of his exit negotiation with the company he founded. Although he technically had until June 1 to leave, his early egress preceded a legal meeting between Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), revolving around any residual imprint the former CEO might have over the newly renamed Encore Boston Harbor’s casino license.
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