Fontainebleau Files Counterclaim Against Wynn Resorts in Poaching Lawsuit

As we were the first to report back in February, Wynn Resorts filed a lawsuit against Fontainebleau for alleged poaching of employees.

Well, Fontainebleau is firing back with its own counterclaim, and the drama is almost unbearably glorious. Almost.

Read on for the latest twist in the Wynn vs. Fontainebleau kerfuffle.

Somebody produce a reality TV series, thanks.

We are not a legal expert, but the counterclaim starts in what we imagine is a novel way: “In their 1976 hit ‘New Kid in Town,’ the iconic band The Eagles wrote about the insecurities that follow fading popularity and attraction: ‘There’s a new kid in town. Everybody’s talking. There’s a new kid in town. People started walking. There’s a new kid in town…” Wynn Las Vegas is now confessing those same insecurities for the whole world to see. The new Fontainebleau Las Vegas has arrived, and the employees of its competitors, including Wynn Las Vegas, have started both talking and walking. Wynn Las Vegas feels threatened. But rather than fairly compete, as the law requires, Wynn Las Vegas has confessed its inability to legitimately retain customers and talent, thus resorting to threats, intimidation, vexatious litigation, and other unlawful acts.”

Fun fact: Vexatious Litigation was the name of our band in high school.

There is clearly no love lost between Fontainebleau and Wynn Las Vegas.

Here’s the counterclaim in its entirety (.pdf format).

Fontainebleau alleges a number of things in its counterclaim. That Wynn benefited from many Fontainebleau executives staying at Wynn as Fontainebleau ramped up to open. Wynn’s CEO invited Fontainebleau executives to meet “in an effort to start a friendly relationship.” Wynn employees were friendly to Fontainebleau executives, “perhaps hoping that they, too, could make a move to a new dynamic property.” During their two years of staying at Wynn, Fontainebleau learned of Wynn employee dissatisfaction with Wynn leadership. Wynn is creating a “false narrative.” “Fontainebleau believed (mistakenly, in hindsight) that Wynn Las Vegas and its executives would act maturely in the face of competition.” Fontainebleau claims, “Rewarding the bullying tactics has only led to more of the same. For instance, it has led to such petulant and amateurish moves by Wynn Las Vegas as issuing ‘trespass notices’ to three former chefs that left and went to work at Fontainebleau Las Vegas.” Wynn’s CEO Craig Billings issued a trespass order against the President of Fontainebleau Development, Brett Mufson. “Billings went on to engage in an unprofessional, profanity-filled text message rant to Fontainebleau’s owner and CEO, wherein Billings proceeded to defame Fontainebleau’s President.”

It’s hard to express our mixed feelings at the lawsuit and counterclaim, other than to say it’s like when you hear a bus has driven off a cliff, then realize everyone onboard was a Twitter troll.

We love Wynn and Fontainebleau, and we hate to see them fighting. By “hate,” of course, we mean “love.”

The counterclaim includes a text interaction between Fontainebleau’s CEO Jeffrey Soffer and Wynn’s CEO Craig Billings. The subject is Brett Mufson, President of Fontainebleau Development.

Looks like we picked a bad week to give up blogging.

What are the odds when the Las Vegas Review-Journal covers this story (sometime in November 2025) they’ll point out that the CEO of Wynn called Brett Mufson, the president of Fontainebleau Development, “a fucking rank amateur”?

Heed good business ideas, no matter whence they come.

The main thrust of the counterclaim: “Legitimate and competently-run businesses choose to meet competition through the competitive process which recognizes the value that its employees bring to the organization. Wynn Las Vegas’ threats and intimidation are not a legitimate means of business competition.”

The bottom line is Fontainebleau is accusing Wynn of “intentional interference with contractual relations.”

From our layperson’s perspective, the subtext is, “Hey, we were opening a new resort and we had to recruit from somewhere. If you can’t retain your employees, that’s on you.”

Wynn’s perspective: Not so fast.

Fontainebleau is fire.

In response to Fontainebleau’s counterclaim, Wynn provided this statement: “Fontainebleau’s counterclaim, filled with fictitious accusations, was clearly designed to incite social media chatter and is devoid of answers to our original claim. The facts of our original claim against Fontainebleau are clear: Fontainebleau induced Wynn employees to breach their lawful employment contracts. We believe Fontainebleau engaged in that practice because we believe they lack the ability to develop, and based upon numerous recent news reports, to retain talent. They cannot solve these widely reported problems by encouraging employees to break the lawful employment contacts they have negotiated with other employers. We strongly objected to that behavior because it is clearly unethical, and we shall soon find out if a court believes it is also unlawful. We clearly hope Fontainebleau will achieve the success to which it aspires; their success, if it comes, will benefit all of us.”

In case you were skimming (we know how you are), this could be one of the best pieces of shade in human history: “their success, if it comes, will benefit all of us.”

Easily one of the cruelest uses of “if,” ever, and we have witnessed some world-class pith in our day. Kudos.

We can’t guarantee there’s not going to be some social media chatter, though, sorry not sorry.

The talent Fontainebleau has “failed to retain” includes 12 top executives who were either fired or resigned, including two presidents, COO, CFO, two CMOs, Chief People Officer, VP of Revenue Management, two Senior VP of Casino Operations, Chief Technology Officer and VP of Financial Planning and Analysis.

We are not a legal expert, so we have no idea who’s going to prevail in this ongoing legal battle. Luckily, this ongoing rivalry doesn’t impact our enjoyment of these two great casino resorts.

We strongly encourage Fontainebleau and Wynn to not resolve their differences.

Las Vegas casinos have so much behind-the-scenes drama many never get to see, except in our Twitter feed, often unconfirmed. We adore a good fracas.

We wait with bated breath for the next chapter of this epic casino pissing match. Sorry, we should keep it classy given the brands involved, so we’ll go with “pithing match.”

Update (3/26/24): We got our hands on Wynn’s restraining order against Fontainebleau and David Synder. You can read the full document here (.pdf format). The restraining order was subsequently violated, leading to what’s unfolded.