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 Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like