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‘New Kid in Town’ Fontainebleau files counterclaim against Wynn

Updated March 21, 2024 - 7:08 am

Fontainebleau officials say the executives who left Wynn to join the Strip’s newest resort did so on their own terms and left because they had grown dissatisfied with the resort.

In a counterclaim against Wynn filed Tuesday in Clark County District Court, Fontainebleau Las Vegas LLC invoked The Eagles’ “New Kid in Town” to describe how it came to hire away at least eight executives. Wynn, on Feb. 29, had filed a lawsuit accusing Fontainebleau of interfering with contractual relations and prospective contractual relations by poaching Wynn employees that had noncompete clauses in their contracts.

The counterclaim includes a profanity-laced email exchange between Wynn CEO Craig Billings and Fontainebleau CEO Jeff Soffer.

“Fontainebleau’s counterclaim, filled with fictitious accusations, was clearly designed to incite social media chatter and is devoid of answers to our original claim,” Wynn officials said in a statement issued after the counterclaim had been filed.

“The facts of our original claim against Fontainebleau are clear: Fontainebleau induced Wynn employees to breach their lawful employment contracts. We believe Fontainebleau engaged in that practice because we believe they lack the ability to develop, and based upon numerous recent news reports, to retain talent. They cannot solve these widely reported problems by encouraging employees to break the lawful employment contracts they have negotiated with other employers. We strongly objected to that behavior because it is clearly unethical, and we shall soon find out if a court believes it is also unlawful.”

“New Kid in Town,” a 1976 Eagles hit about insecurities that follow fading popularity and attraction, said Wynn “is now confessing those same insecurities for the whole world to see.”

The counterclaim says top Fontainebleau executives stayed at Wynn while Fontainebleau was being built and Billings and Wynn President Brian Gullbrants “were more than happy to take in the significant revenues — exceeding seven figures — from Fontainebleau’s team for the extensive amount of time they stayed at WLV (Wynn Las Vegas) while building the newest resort on the Strip just steps away from WLV.”

The response says as Wynn executives got to know the Fontainebleau leadership, many became intrigued with the idea of making a fresh start at a brand new resort and some eventually explored the possibility of moving over.

As more and more thought about leaving, the counterclaim says, Wynn began bullying its own employees to persuade them to stay.

At one point, Soffer messaged Billings, who was on vacation, and received a profanity-filled response.

“As FBDev and FBLV have now come to know from subsequent interactions, Billings demonstrated a disturbing lack of dignity and judgment normally exhibited by CEOs of publicly traded companies,” the counterclaim said.

Wynn’s Tuesday statement said, “We clearly hope Fontainebleau will achieve the success to which it aspires; their success, if it comes, will benefit all of us.”

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

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