Steve Wynn continues to be in hot water with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
The embattled casino mogul resigned as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts in February in the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that accused him of a long pattern of sexual misconduct against female employees.
Facing licensing suitability investigations in several jurisdictions, he later sold his entire majority stake in the company, as the board sought to protect its gaming licenses by severing all ties to its founder.
But the MGC — which is reexamining Wynn Resorts’ suitability for licensing in Boston, where it is building its $2.4 million Wynn Boston Harbor — isn’t done with Wynn just yet.
Wynn and Wynn Resorts passed licensing suitability tests before they won the sole east Massachusetts casino license in 2014 after a hard-fought competitive bidding process with Mohegan Sun. But Wynn’s alleged failure to declare a $7.5 million settlement to a Wynn Resorts manicurist who claimed sexual assault prompted the regulator to revisit the case.
Wynn Status to Be Decided
In a letter dated March 27, Wynn’s attorney asserted that the divestiture of Wynn’s shares precluded him from further scrutiny and that he would no longer respond to requests for information from the commission.
“As Mr. Wynn is no longer a qualifier of any commission licensee, there is no longer any regulatory or statutory justification to continue the commission’s inquiry into Mr. Wynn’s suitability as a qualifier of the commission,” said Wynn’s attorney. “The commission no longer has jurisdiction over Mr. Wynn — he is a private Nevada citizen unaffiliated with Wynn Resorts LLC or any commission licensee.”
But according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the MGC has scheduled a hearing for May in which they will seek to determine whether Wynn has truly removed himself from the company and whether or not he remains a “qualifier” in the licensing process.
“The commission’s decision at the hearing will not end the current investigation by the Investigation Enforcement Bureau as to the allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Steve Wynn or the handling of those allegations by Wynn Resorts Ltd. and its officers and directors,” said the MGC. “The hearing will also not consider whether other employees, board members, shareholders or other Wynn companies should remain as qualifiers.”
Elaine Wynn Accuses Hagenbuch
Meanwhile, Elaine Wynn — now the major shareholder of Wynn Resorts after her estranged ex-husband’s departure from the company — has called for the removal of John Hagenbuch from the board, one of three directors involved in Wynn Resorts own internal investigation of Steve Wynn’s alleged behavior.
She claimed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Hagenbuch’s loyalties are too closely aligned with her ex-husband.
Last week, Wynn Resorts directors rebuffed Ms. Wynn’s demand for a complete overhaul of the board to restore the company’s reputation. Instead, the board nominated three women of their own choosing for election at the company’s forthcoming AGM.