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Elaine Wynn says she has no desire to return to Wynn board

Updated September 10, 2020 - 2:06 pm

Las Vegas philanthropist and Wynn Resorts Ltd. co-founder Elaine Wynn has no desire to get on the company’s board of directors and said she wouldn’t be eligible even if she wanted to.

Wynn, the president of the Nevada State Board of Education, told members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board Wednesday that her previous high-profile bid to retain a board seat is behind her and that Wynn Chairman Phil Satre is doing a good job and feels she has his ear as the company’s largest shareholder.

Holding 8.84 percent of the company’s shares, Wynn became the company’s largest shareholder when her ex-husband, former Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, resigned from the company in February 2018 in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal and sold off his company stock within a month. He said he has never harassed anyone.

Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan said Wednesday’s hearing was triggered by Elaine Wynn’s request to withdraw as a director and was related to Wynn’s application for a “finding of suitability as a beneficial owner” of a licensed casino operator.

The Control Board unanimously recommended approval to find her suitable as a beneficial owner of the company, and the Nevada Gaming Commission will consider the recommendation Sept. 24.

Elaine Wynn was involved in a proxy fight involving the company and her former husband beginning in 2015. She had tried to retain a seat on the board, but ended the fight when she said she recruited Satre for consideration of a board seat.

Satre joined the Wynn board in August 2018 and became its chairman three months later.

“The company needed to have a better face, a better leadership personality, and so I was most fortunate to be able to reach out to Mr. Satre, who has been a long admired and well-respected and well-regarded leader in our industry who has vast experience, is above reproach with extraordinary integrity,” Elaine Wynn told the board. “He and I were merely acquaintances; we had no friendship or no long-standing relationship, other than my appreciation from afar.”

Satre’s term as a director ends in 2021.

She said she communicates with Satre and some company executives and has no desire to return to the board, preferring instead to focus on the state’s education needs, her family foundation and several charitable boards with which she is affiliated.

She assured the board that she would notify it if her status changed, but she said she wouldn’t be eligible for a Wynn board position because she had “aged out.” She said Wynn Resorts has an age restriction for board positions. A spokesman for the company said the board age limit is 75. Wynn is 78; Satre is 70.

Wednesday’s meeting wasn’t without some rough moments.

Wynn balked when questioned by board member Phil Katsaros about whether she fulfilled her fiduciary responsibilities when she learned of alleged improprieties by her ex-husband.

Wynn said she did by informing former general counsel Kim Sinatra. When Katsaros pressed for details, Wynn deferred to testimony she gave to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when it was investigating whether Wynn Resorts was suitable to retain its license and open Encore Boston Harbor in 2018. She said she had no desire to relive a painful episode in her life.

Katsaros eventually ended the line of questioning and voted with other board members to approve her suitability.

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

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