Wynn Resorts Donates $1M to Massachusetts Charities, as State Gaming Regulators Mull Encore Boston Fate

Posted on: April 23, 2019, 09:52h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2019, 10:00h.

Wynn Resorts has donated more than $1 million in total to numerous charities in Massachusetts.

Wynn Resorts Massachusetts Encore Boston
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox is in a giving mood, as the chief executive approved almost $1 million in donations for Massachusetts nonprofits. (Image: Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald)

The gifts come as state gaming regulators continue mulling whether Wynn Resorts remains suitable to hold a casino license for its $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor. The integrated resort is scheduled to open in June.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held three days of hearings to review its agency’s investigative conclusions into whether Wynn Resorts purposely withheld knowledge of its founder and former CEO’s alleged sexual wrongdoings during the company’s 2013 bidding for the Boston license. Since then, the casino operator has approved $1,007,500 in donations to 10 organizations.

Wynn Gifts

Museum of Fine Arts – $500,000

RIZE Massachusetts – $250,000

One Love Foundation – $150,000

Boston Symphony Orchestra – $25,000

Boston Children’s Chorus – $25,000

City of Everett – $25,000

ROCA Inc – $10,000

Hispanic American Institute – $10,000

SS Cosmas and Damian Society – $10,000

Jewish Vocational Service – $2,500

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver said the donations “is what community leadership looks like.” He added that company CEO Matt Maddox initiated the giving spree following the MGC hearings.

The MGC’s decision could come at any time now. The worst-case scenario is license revocation. The likelier conclusion is a substantial fine.

Wynning Over Critics

Wynn Resorts says it’s committed to supporting the local communities where it operates. It has backed up that pledge with millions of dollars in area aid.

This week’s $1 million is peanuts compared to what the company pledged last year. In November, Wynn Resorts committed to $10 million over four years for Massachusetts charities.

“It’s not in our corporate DNA to just write a check for a donation or buy a table at a charity event. We want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people and effect real and positive changes in our communities,” Maddox said.

Maddox as Chief Executive

Maddox was on the defensive when he was grilled by MGC regulators. The state’s report found that Wynn executives were aware of Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual harassment of employees – and a $7.5 million hush money payment to a manicurist who claimed she was raped by the billionaire.

Maddox, a longtime protégé of Mr. Wynn, claimed he didn’t know of the alleged sexual misconduct. Instead, he used his time before the MGC to praise his own performance.

I think that my record as a leader … has been quite strong. If you were to ask character witness … I think you would hear that Matt Maddox has been an extraordinary leader since he took over,” Maddox declared.

Mr. Wynn continues to deny he ever acted inappropriately, and blames his former wife Elaine for putting together the smear campaign. The MGC isn’t trying to determine if such illicit acts were committed, but whether the company lied about knowledge of it allegedly occurring.

There are plenty of critics who believe Maddox should step down. Two recent editorials in the influential Boston Globe urged gaming regulators to require the CEO be removed from the company in order for it to maintain its coveted $85 million casino license.