Wynn Resorts Separates From Security Chief James Stern Over Steve Wynn Spying Admission

Posted on: April 10, 2019, 06:52h. 

Last updated on: February 25, 2020, 02:28h.

Wynn Resorts has parted ways with its VP of corporate security, James Stern, following his testimony in front of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) that he spied on former employees on behalf of the company’s disgraced former chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn.

Wynn Resorts
James Stern giving testimony in front of Massachusetts gaming regulators last week, just days before he separated from the organization. (Image: Boston Herald)

The Associated Press reports that the Wynn CEO Matt Maddox informed the MGC Tuesday that the security chief — a former FBI agent — was no longer with the company.

Stern testified last week that Steve Wynn had asked him to tail his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn — a co-founder of the company and currently its biggest shareholder — as well as three employees, including former Wynn Las Vegas hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen.

Nielsen was one of several former Wynn Resorts employees who contributed to an explosive Wall Street Journal article in January 2018, alleging that Wynn had engaged in a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct towards female staff members.

Calls for Maddox’s Head

The allegations led to the Steve Wynn’s departure from the company and the licensing suitability investigation in Massachusetts that prompted Stern’s testimony last week. The MGC is due to deliver its verdict imminently on whether the company can retain its license for the Encore Boston Harbor, which it plans to open later this year.

Steve Wynn sued Nielsen last year for defamation, labelling him “disgruntled former employee” who “harbors a personal animus, dislike, and anger toward Mr. Wynn.”

This week The Boston Globe called for the MGC to demand Wynn Resorts fire Maddox — a longtime confident of Steve Wynn — for being too close to the old regime.

Wynn Resorts claimed in a filing to the MGC Tuesday that Maddox only had “minimal” and “partial” knowledge of the spying. Maddox himself testified last week that — unlike some former Wynn executives — he was not aware of financial settlements made by Steve Wynn to women who had accused him of sexual misconduct.

Crown Deal May Be Revisited

Tuesday’s developments came as Wynn Resorts made and then withdrew a $7.1 billion takeover bid for Australia’s Crown Resorts.

The Las Vegas-based company cited premature disclosure of the deal, including the value of the bid, as its reason to back out. The news of the deal first appeared in the Australian Financial Review and was subsequently confirmed by Crown Resorts in a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange.

But some analysts have suggested the tabling of the deal may only be temporary and that Crown remains a good fit for Wynn as it seeks to diversify away from Macau amid a slowing Asian market, while staving off takeover approaches itself.