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Monitor hired for Wynn Resorts to cost company more than $575K

Wynn Resorts Ltd. will be on the hook for between $575,000 and $775,000 for the first six months an independent monitor ordered by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is in place.

Commissioners on Thursday unanimously ratified a contract with a Washington-based law firm, Miller & Chevalier Chartered, to serve as the commission’s eyes and ears to determine that Wynn is complying with its own rules and policies regarding sexual harassment.

“We look forward to working cooperatively with the MGC’s selected monitor and reviewing the significant changes in compliance and human resources programs we have implemented in the past 18 months,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said Thursday.

The order is the result of a yearlong investigation and a three-day April hearing about whether the company would be able to keep its Massachusetts gaming license. The company’s suitability was in question after an investigation determined that former Wynn Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn and other executives failed to disclose a $7.5 million settlement payment in 2005 to a woman who said he forced her to have sex with him. Steve Wynn has denied harassing anyone.

Commissioners found the company to be suitable to keep its license, but conditions of the approval included the payment of fines totalling $35.5 million and the hiring of a monitor of the commission’s choosing at the company’s expense.

The estimated six-month cost is based on attorneys spending between 850 and 1,150 hours in their review of Wynn policies.

Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein was unanimously affirmed as the contract manager and will serve as liaison between the law firm and the commission.

Encore Boston Harbor, the company’s resort in Everett, a suburb of Boston, opened in June.

Commissioners spent an hour Thursday discussing the monitor’s role, talking with principal members of the law firm that will monitor Wynn.

A diverse team of five is led by Alejandra Montenegro Almonte and Preston Pugh, who have billable hourly rates of $810 and $930, respectively. Other team members are Katherine Pappas ($725), Ann Sultan ($725) and Nicole Gokçebay ($435).

In comments before the commission, Almonte said monitors don’t intend to reinvestigate allegations raised in 2018, but will instead review policies and procedures put in place in the wake of Matt Maddox’s promotion to CEO and the revamping of Wynn’s board of directors.

In April 2018, the Wynn board expanded to 11 members with the addition of three women. In addition, in August 2018, longtime Nevada gaming executive Phil Satre was appointed to the board, eventually taking the role of chairman, replacing D. Boone Wayson. Satre is expected to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission as a board director on Thursday.

Almonte said the monitor would evaluate and test the company’s internal reporting and communication channels and ensure that the response and investigation of reports are independent and impartial.

“We’re not looking at specific elements,” Almonte said in her appearance before the commission. “We don’t come with a checklist. We’re not looking at a litany of policies that we want to make sure are in place. We take a very broad approach. We want to understand how the different parts of the company work together to insure a culture that is focused on compliance.”

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

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