Elaine Wynn opposes Wynn Resorts board member’s re-election

Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors.

As she tries to regain influence over the casino operator she helped co-found 16 years ago, the 75-year-old Elaine Wynn urged fellow shareholders Monday to withhold their vote for John Hagenbuch.

Hagenbuch is a six-year board member who serves on on the compensation committee, the audit committee and the special committee that was created to look into sexual harassment allegations that emerged in January against the company’s former chairman, Steve Wynn.

The Wynn board has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the allegations. Recent shareholder lawsuits allege that board members lack independence, either because of their close personal friendship with Steve Wynn or because of their business relationships with the casino founder. Steve Wynn stepped down as chairman Feb. 6 and sold his his entire $2.1 billion stake in Wynn Resorts on March 22.

Hagenbuch is the only one of the three directors up for re-election this year that Elaine Wynn opposes. A private equity investor who shares a Ketchum, Idaho, home near Steve Wynn, Hagenbuch has been on the board since 2012. Betsy Atkins, who joined the board this month, and Patricia Mulroy, who joined in late 2015, are also running for re-election.

“I believe it is time for Hagenbuch’s departure from the board so that new board members can seek change, free of holdovers from the past,” Elaine Wynn said in a letter to shareholders. “My opposition to Hagenbuch serves as a referendum on all of the longstanding legacy directors, including those who are not up for re-election.”

Wynn Resorts directors who fail to receive more than 50 percent of the “for” vote in an uncontested election should step down within five days, according to the the company’s charter. Wynn Resorts shareholders will vote during the annual meeting on May 16.

Compliant board

Elaine Wynn said she was “troubled” that the special board committee investigating her husband included his friend Hagenbuch. 

“Mr. Hagenbuch’s service on the special committee is disconcerting. I find this obvious conflict deeply troubling,” she said in her letter.

The 10-member board has been in flux ever since the allegations of misconduct emerged. After Steve Wynn stepped down as chairman in February, director Ray Irani quit in March. Alvin Shoemaker said in March he would retire from the board when his term ends in 2019.

Wynn Resorts announced last week it had expanded the board to eleven members and had hired three female directors to fill the vacant seats. It promised to make additional changes to the board in the coming months. The company reiterated that promise today in a response to Elaine Wynn’s letter.

”The Board is working in an orderly fashion to refresh its composition,” Wynn Resorts said.

The board still consists of eight members that joined prior to the sexual harassment allegations, including 15-year veterans D. Boone Wayson and Governor Bob Miller.

Elaine’s fight

Elaine Wynn helped her then-husband Steve Wynn create the eponymous casino operator in 2002 and served as a director over the years. Elaine and Steve Wynn divorced in 2010, setting the stage for a bitter fight starting in 2012.

The board declined to renominate her in 2015, prompting Elaine Wynn to nominate herself. She lost the vote and filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against her husband and the company.

Though she settled that acrimonious lawsuit last week with both parties, it hasn’t stopped her from seeking to regain some influence over company decisions by voting against some board members. Elaine Wynn, who owns 9.2 percent of Wynn Resorts, declined to nominate herself this year.

In her letter Monday, Elaine Wynn said she was “troubled” by the amount the company awards to executives. Matt Maddox, who took over as chief executive officer after Steve Wynn stepped down, was paid $24 million last year. Hagenbuch, as a member of the compensation committee, helps design pay packages.

Maddox’s pay “is exorbitant for a first-time, untested pubic company CEO” and “demonstrates that very little has changed,” Elaine Wynn said in her letter. “Voting withhold will send a strong signal to the entire compensation committee that the company’s executive pay practices much change.”

She also reiterated her concern over Maddox’s comment to media that the company is open to a sale of Wynn Boston Harbor, the $2.4 billion casino expected to open next year.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is investigating Wynn Resorts over the sexual harassment claims and could decide to withdraw its license. Wynn Resorts has invested over $1.1 billion in the project to date.

“I believe that before any decisions about Wynn Boston Harbor are made, a reconstituted board must be in place. In my opinion, [Massachusetts] regulators would look favorably upon a change in a majority of the board.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Contact Todd Prince at 702-383-0386 or tprince@reviewjournal.com. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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)
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
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like