Wynn Gave $7 Million to Charities, Not Trump

Posted on: February 7, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: February 7, 2017, 03:40h.

Steve Wynn donated $7 million-worth of company shares to good causes and not Donald Trump, Wynn Resorts announced Monday.

The revelation comes following speculation by some news outlets that the donation of stock, which appeared on a recent filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, had been used to fund Trump’s inauguration.

Wynn’s charity donation
The lion’s share of Steve Wynn’s $7 million charitable donation went to the University of Iowa’s Wynn Institute for Vision Research. Wynn suffers from a hereditary eye condition that leads to tunnel vision and, ultimately, blindness. (Image: Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

Speculation had been fuelled by the timing of the donation, precisely one month before the event, which Wynn had helped to organize. Shortly after, Wynn was named finance director of the Republican National Committee.    

But, in fact, Wynn’s donation was entirely altruistic. Michael Weaver, senior vice president of marketing for Wynn Resorts, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal his boss gave $5 million in shares to the University of Iowa’s Wynn Institute for Vision Research, while $1.7 million was donated to a fund for charitable distributions, mainly in Las Vegas.

“Reports that the funds were used for political contributions are false,” Weaver said.

Wynn suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative genetic disease that leads to tunnel vision and, eventually, blindness. In 2013 he donated $25 million to the Institute of Vision Research which was later renamed in his honor.     

Wynn vs Okada

Meanwhile, Wynn’s lawyers were back in court on Monday for the latest phase in the longstanding battle between Wynn Resorts and its former majority shareholder, the Japanese Pachinko magnate Kazuo Okada.

Okada owned 21 percent of Wynn Resorts but was ousted from the board in 2012 for breach of fiduciary duty, his shares forcibly redeemed. Wynn Resorts sued Okada on the grounds that he allegedly made illegal payments to the Philippine government in pursuit of a gambling license for his solo project that became the Okada Manila, which opened in December.

Wynn Resorts alleged that his actions had put the licenses of its properties around the world in jeopardy.

Okada counter-sued to undo the redemption of his shares and, just to confuse matters, Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, joined the suit against Wynn Resorts. She’s trying to wrestle back control of the shares she owns but agreed not to sell, as part of a deal struck when Okada was ousted.

Confidential Documents

On Monday lawyers for Wynn Resorts asked the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn two orders that would force the company to give up documents to Okada.

Both these documents were instrumental in the company’s decision to oust the 70-year-old Japanese. One is a confidential transcript of conversations between a law firm and Wynn shareholders, the other, a report prepared on Okada’s business practises by a former federal judge behalf of Wynn Resorts.   

Wynn’s lawyers argue that the ruling to turn the documents over goes against Nevada’s “business judgment rule” in which directors are presumed to act in good faith.