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Attorneys work to limit delay of Encore Boston Harbor opening

Attorneys are getting their black-out pens ready for a report on Steve Wynn.

Attorneys for the former Wynn Resorts Ltd. chairman and CEO, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Wynn Resorts met in Clark County District Court Thursday and agreed to return next week to attempt to resolve issues surrounding a Gaming Commission report critical to a decision on whether Wynn Resorts is suitable to hold a gaming license in that state.

The commission is preparing for an adjudicatory hearing in Boston on allegations that Steve Wynn paid a Wynn employee a $7.5 million settlement over sexual harassment and assault accusations and that he and the company hid the payment from regulators. Wynn has denied the allegations.

Whether the company was involved in a cover-up could play a role in whether it would have its license suspended or revoked or the company fined by the commission. The commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau has worked since January to compile a report on the allegations in advance of a hearing that was planned for this month.

But Steve Wynn filed a lawsuit against the bureau and its lead investigator, Karen Wells, and his former company alleging that some of the materials in the report were from privileged attorney-client communications between him, the company and his lawyers.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzales signed orders allowing attorneys to seal or redact certain records within the report. Now, it’s a matter of determining which records are subject to those orders and the judge may need to rule on those in dispute.

“From Massachusetts’ standpoint, they’ve given us certain recordings of people who were interviewed by their investigators,” said Jon Williams, an attorney for Steve Wynn. “We are in the process of listening to those interviews.”

He said attorneys would meet next week prior to a Thursday court hearing “to identify problem areas.”

The commission is concerned about how delays could affect the scheduled opening of Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts’ $2.6 billion resort on the Mystic River in Everett, just outside Boston.

“Any postponement of the IEB’s issuance of its investigative report will inevitably delay the commission’s adjudicatory hearing and decision,” Commission Executive Director Edward Bedrosian said in a deposition that is a part of the court record.

“If the commission ultimately determines the company is still suitable to hold the license, such delay risks the opening of the project, postponement of the employment of thousands of workers and enormous irreparable financial loss to the commonwealth, the city of Everett and surrounding communities.

“If the commission determined that the company is no longer suitable, such delay would postpone additional proceedings to transfer the license and project to a suitable licensee and delay the considerable economic benefit of expanded legal gaming in the commonwealth,” he said.

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

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