Wynn Las Vegas Sues Fontainebleau for Poaching Staff

Posted on: March 1, 2024, 09:54h. 

Last updated on: March 1, 2024, 02:48h.

In June 2023, Casino.org’s own Vital Vegas blog broke the story that Wynn Las Vegas (WLV) was gearing up to sue Fontainebleau for poaching its talent. On Friday morning, Vital Vegas also became the first to report that Wynn’s lawsuit has finally been filed.

The Fontainebleau,
The Fontainebleau, foreground, overshadows the Wynn and Encore in a photo taken from the top of the Strat. (Image: travel-intel.com)

The reason it took nearly a year, according to the suit, is because the lawsuit was actually filed last year, but secretly settled when Fontainebleau agreed to refrain from its “outrageous attempts … to interfere with WLV’s contracts.”

According to the new suit, Fontainebleau, which opened on December 13, “repeatedly breached” this agreement by attempting to induce WLV’s employees into breaching their contracts to work at the new resort down the road.

The lawsuit, filed late Thursday, seeks an injunction against Fontainebleau from soliciting any more Wynn executives.

The Naughty List

Among the allegedly poached employees named by the suit is David Snyder, Wynn’s former VP of culinary operations and restaurant development. After breaching his own Wynn noncompete contract to come aboard, the suit alleges, Snyder then attempted soliciting his former  coworkers. These included Wynn Las Vegas executive chef Chef Sandy Shi.

The suit also names sous chef Brian Kenny, another Wynn staffer who jumped ship to Fontainebleau, and who then allegedly tried wooing chef Corey Francis into joining him. Accused of the same thing is former Wynn executive pastry chef Patrice Caillot, who tried hiring Wynn pastry chef Vivian Lam almost as soon as he crossed the street.

Also named is Michael Waltman, Fontainebleau’s senior VP of nightlife, for allegedly trying to hire Wayne Crane, Wynn’s executive director of talent and nightlife, and Brett Mufson, president of Fontainebleau Development, who, along with David Grutman of Groot Hospitality, are accused of attempting to poach Ryan Jones, Wynn’s VP of nightlife.

The suit accuses Fontainebleau General Counsel Mike Pappas of being “duplicitously involved in this interference.” He did so by being “instrumental in Fontainebleau’s latest interference” after negotiating the previous lawsuit’s settlement.

Wynn Las Vegas requires its executive-level employees to agree to a non-competition provision that precludes the employee, during their employment term, from accepting similar employment with a Wynn Las Vegas competitor,” the lawsuit states.

When a restraining order against further solicitation was granted to Wynn, according to the new suit, Fontainebleau responded by using a recruiting agency to hide its efforts.

The suit characterizes those efforts as “brazen, even going so far as to solicit WLV employees while on WLV property as WLV’s (albeit) paying guests.”

According to the suit, Fontainebleau tried claiming that the employees it poached were slated to work at Fontainebleau’s Miami location. But “this was a facade meant to hide the direct competition only temporarily until the noncompetition provisions expired.”

The suit characterizes Fontainebleau’s conduct as “an unhealthy obsession with everything Wynn, from its amenities to its employees.”