Allegations shocking contrast to Steve Wynn’s business vision

Steve Wynn is probably the reason I’m a Las Vegan.

Living in Flagstaff, Arizona, I had heard stories about this crazy idea of a volcano erupting every 15 minutes on the Las Vegas Strip.

I had to see it.

Apparently, millions of others felt the same way. Wynn’s success at The Mirage was followed by a massive expansion up and down the Strip.

For Wynn, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore were next up on the Strip. And off to the side, Shadow Creek, one of the nation’s greatest golf courses, was carved out of the desert.

Others added MGM Grand, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Paris Las Vegas, Stratosphere, Planet Hollywood, Monte Carlo and New York-New York.

The casino industry was becoming more of a business than an entertainment novelty. When the Las Vegas Sun came calling for me to join the staff as its business editor in 1991, I came with the anticipation of leading coverage of the likes of Steve Wynn and the creative geniuses that were transforming a city and making it one of the greatest growth stories in history.

Wynn is a smart and charismatic speaker who can paint a vivid landscape of words from his imagination. Who else but Wynn could come up with a lake in the middle of a desert with geysers that erupt in perfect choreography to an elegant soundtrack? To think it up might be easy; to execute it to icon status is something else.

Who else could come up with a restaurant where the walls and furnishings change every 30 minutes to reveal a new environment?

That’s one of the reasons last week’s meteoric dive from his company’s leadership role was so perplexing. How could somebody that smart allow himself to be cornered into the position of having to quit when what could be his greatest creative achievement is still on the drawing board?

All should acknowledge that Wynn is innocent until proved guilty of the various accusations of sexual misconduct. But all should also acknowledge that the preponderance of witness accounts about Wynn’s behavior is overwhelming. It doesn’t take a lot of smoke to conclude there has been a fire somewhere, and at this point, the clouds coming from Wynn’s executive tower are billowing.

It all seems to be about ego and the attitude that his position in the community entitles him to do just about anything to anybody and get away with it.

I’ve interviewed him a few times, covered his presentations and earnings calls. He can be mesmerizing.

When he first described Wynn Palace, his second property in Macau, I thought he was spewing hyperbole and bluster. Until I saw the place.

It is, without question, the most spectacular hotel I have ever seen. Sure, it looks a little amusement parkish with cable cars carrying passengers from the street to the building, but the treatments inside are stunning.

Wynn’s attention to detail is one of his trademarks. You can see that in the inlaid tiling and impressive floral arrangements at his Las Vegas properties.

I was there when he opened his first property in Macau, and it was clear he was in his element, pointing things out to all his new Chinese friends.

He preferred talking with the Time magazines and Wall Street Journals of the world more than with local media, frustrating for someone like me who sees how much his work means to Southern Nevada’s fortunes.

Local journalists have been hounding his public relations handlers for months for him to give an interview to talk more about the details of Paradise Park, the lagoon-centered attraction that reportedly is in design stage. Most people around here couldn’t wait to see what emerged from the artist’s canvas.

Wynn can surprise. One day, out of the blue, he called my desk phone without prior arrangement to talk about something about him in the news. Just as suddenly, he ended the call. “That’s enough for today.” Click.

One of my mentors, the late Jeff Simpson, had the same experience with him. We were perplexed.

I remember sitting with Wynn when his Sinatra restaurant opened at Wynn Las Vegas. All through the interview, he kept clutching at my arm, one of the things he does as a result of his retinitis pigmentosa. It makes you think: How could somebody stricken with such a terrible disease have the vision to create masterpiece after masterpiece.

He admires the artists before him, buying Picassos and Matisses for his collection. One day, the retinitis and the art collided. Showing Picasso’s “Le Reve” to friends, he accidentally put his elbow through the painting, which he was just about to sell to another collector for a reported $139 million.

Maybe that’s why he decided not to name his hotel Le Reve.

Instead, he simply called the hotel Wynn, and Steve Wynn’s signature is the company logo.

Now. we’re left wondering what happens next. Does the Wynn name, signature and logo disappear? Does he continue in some capacity in the casino business? A lot of that will be left up to regulators who will be making decisions based on the findings of four investigations that are underway.

If the allegations are proved to be true, it’s clear that Wynn forgot one of the basic tenets he impresses on his staff: Serve your guests with the very best and make them feel special. It’s clear there are dozens of women who feel Wynn didn’t do that for them.

And for the rest of us, we will be left wondering how someone with so much creative vision failed to see how the consequences of one’s actions can be so destructive.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like