Despite Ongoing Chaos, Wynn Resorts Boosting Annual Dividends, as State of Oregon Files Latest Lawsuit

Posted on: March 8, 2018, 11:20h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2018, 11:25h.

Wynn Resorts will be upping its annual dividend from $2 to $3 per share over the next 12 months: that’s the word from new CEO Matt Maddox.

Wynn Resorts Matt Maddox CEO
Seen here in 2010, Matt Maddox, left, has long been Steve Wynn’s right-hand man. But now the 42-year-old is at the helm of Wynn Resorts in what’s likely the company’s most trying time. (Image: Bradley Bower/Getty)

Good Year, Despite a Bad Year

Via a recorded audio clip posted Wednesday on the Wynn Resorts investor website, Maddox flaunted strong recent financials, revealing that despite the company’s ongoing scandals, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) were up between 27 and 34 percent through the first two months of 2018.

Maddox credited a strong Chinese New Year, where EBITDA surged 46 percent. For disgraced ex-CEO Steve Wynn, who retains about 12.1 million shares in the company he founded, that means an extra $12.1 million will be coming his way.

Another Day, Another Lawsuit

Published this week, the Forbes Billionaires 2018 list has Wynn at #679, with his fortune estimated at $3.4 billion. But money can’t buy freedom from litigation, and the lawsuits continue to pile up on both Steve Wynn and the company. Three civil suits from workers have been filed over the last week alone, and on Wednesday, the State of Oregon joined the fray.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum revealed her state’s pension system owns 8,506 shares of Wynn Resorts, worth about $1.4 million. State Treasurer Tobias Read said the stock valuation has dropped, due to the Wynn board’s “profound dereliction of fiduciary duty.”

Similar lawsuits have been brought by shareholder pension funds in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

According to the Associated Press, successful derivative lawsuits against publicly traded companies alleging monetary loss due to the failure of officers to meet fiduciary duties require those found in the wrong to pay the company in damages, not the plaintiff.

The Wynn Resorts Board of Directions continues to undergo reorganization, as this week, Maddox confirmed that two members of the 10-person panel will soon vacate their positions.

During an impromptu investor update this week, Maddox announced that Ray Irani, 83, is stepping down, while 79-year-old Alvin Shoemaker has informed the company he will not seek re-election. Combined, the two have 27 years on the Wynn board.

In a Power Point presentation, Wynn Resorts said a candidate search is “well underway,” with “focus on bringing additional perspectives” the primary goal. The board has been accused in shareholder lawsuits of failing to protect employees who were allegedly victims of Steve Wynn’s sexual misconduct and harassment.

“Our board has been extremely active over the past month, and has announced its intention to expand and refresh its ranks to bring new prospects to the boardroom,” Maddox explained.

Who is Wynn Resorts New CEO?

Matt Maddox, 42, studied finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He joined Wynn Resorts soon after its founding in 2003, and has since been one of Steve Wynn’s closest allies.

Maddox rose through the ranks, working in Macau, where the company generates about 70 percent of its revenue. He was appointed CFO in 2008, a position he held until becoming president in 2013. Maddox became CEO in 2018 after Steve Wynn submitted his resignation in February, in the midst of ongoing civil litigation and stock price drops.

Per company records, Maddox earned in the neighborhood of around $70 million between 2008 through 2016. Excluding bonuses and stock options, Maddox’ base annual salary since 2014 was listed in Wynn Resorts’ SEC filings as being $1.5 million.