60°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Steve, Elaine Wynn face accusations in new court filing

Updated November 12, 2019 - 9:22 am

Las Vegas philanthropist Elaine Wynn says she never encouraged women alleged to have been harassed by her former husband, Steve Wynn, to contact the Wall Street Journal, which published a story that led to Steve Wynn’s downfall and separation from the company that bears his name.

Elaine Wynn, who co-founded Wynn Resorts and is the company’s largest shareholder, on Monday responded through a spokeswoman to accusations contained in an affidavit of Renee Palleggi.

The affidavit was dated July 2018 and presented as evidence in a motion filed Friday to dismiss an invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy lawsuit filed by former Wynn hair salon director Jorgen Nielsen against Wynn Resorts Ltd., its CEO, Matt Maddox, and two former Wynn employees.

Palleggi was a customer and personal friend of Nielsen but had a falling out with him in February 2018 when she said she believed Nielsen and Elaine Wynn were engineering a plan to smear Steve Wynn through sexual harassment allegations.

In an affidavit from Palleggi, the Arizona resident alleged that Nielsen suggested she say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son and gave him the middle name “Wynn.” Palleggi rejected the idea.

Nielsen’s Las Vegas-based attorney, Kathleen England, called the allegations in Palleggi’s affidavit highly questionable and inaccurate and criticized Wynn Resorts for using it in the company’s motion to dismiss.

Defamation case appealed

Nielsen provided his own sworn affidavit in the defamation case, which is on appeal before the Nevada Supreme Court.

“It’s appalling that they (Wynn Resorts) would use this incompetent, untested affidavit of a friend of Steve Wynn’s that we contend he (Steve Wynn) misused in the defamation suit to malign Mr. Nielsen,” England said Monday.

Steve Wynn has denied ever harassing anyone since the allegations were first made. Elaine Wynn has said she has not had contact with Journal reporters, and, through a spokeswoman, said she has not supplied phone numbers of alleged victims to the newspaper.

“Ms. Wynn never engaged with reporters from the Wall Street Journal,” Elaine Wynn spokeswoman Devon Spurgeon said in the statement issued Monday. “In fact, the WSJ reporters noted in a story dated Feb. 5, 2018, that ‘Ms. Wynn declined to speak to the Journal, which contacted more than 150 people who work or had worked for Mr. Wynn; none reached out to the Journal on their own.’”

Elaine Wynn is not a party to Nielsen’s lawsuit or the reply from the company.

The accusations resurfaced last week when Wynn Resorts gave its Friday response to Nielsen’s lawsuit, which was filed in Clark County District Court on Oct. 17. In addition to the corporation and Maddox, the Nielsen lawsuit named two former Wynn employees, general counsel Kim Sinatra and director of security James Stern, as defendants.

Company attorneys say the lawsuit has no basis for an invasion of privacy complaint.

Text testimony

But the Palleggi affidavit included a newly disclosed series of allegations against Nielsen and Elaine Wynn. The sworn testimony included screen shots of text exchanges.

In a text exchange between Palleggi and Nielsen on Dec. 20, 2017, Nielsen asks, “Did you by chance get a call from WSJ?” to which Palleggi replied, “No. Why?”

He responded, “Guess they are calling everyone regarding harassment at the Wynn and Bellagio …”

The relationship changed dramatically by Feb. 7, 2018, after the Journal article was published and Steve Wynn had stepped down as chairman and CEO of the company. At the time, Steve Wynn denied ever having assaulted anyone and blamed Elaine Wynn for orchestrating the scandal as a legal strategy to modify a company share agreement in a court battle stemming from the couple’s 2010 divorce.

Elaine Wynn denied that allegation.

Palleggi texted Nielsen, “Don’t ever text me again.” Nielsen responded Feb. 24, 2018, with an image showing all of Palleggi’s personal information and a message that said, “Don’t f—- with me. FBI is on to you, time to move again.” A day later, she replied, “You are hearby notified that a police report is being filed. I demand at this point you cease harassing me.”

In her affidavit, Palleggi also said she believed disclosing information to the Journal was planned to coincide with Steve Wynn’s birthday as retribution because Steve Wynn married his new wife, Andrea, around the time of Steve and Elaine Wynn’s wedding anniversary date.

More from affidavit

Exhibits from the Palleggi affidavit also included a note she sent to the Wall Street Journal after the article appeared.

“I am shocked and saddened to see that you have taken part of this slanderous scheme against Steve Wynn. This was a planned false scandal set up and carried out by Elaine Wynn and Jorgen Nielsen,” she wrote. “I have the proof of this. Documented proof of their and your involvement, long before this article came out. I am going to bring this proof to my ‘Uncle’ Steve this weekend. I hope and pray he will bring about a swift justice to all involved. We all remember what happened to Joe Francis.”

Francis is an American film producer who was sued for defamation by Steve Wynn, who won a $7.5 million judgment against him in February 2012.

In her affidavit, Palleggi also alleges that Nielsen tried to convince her to say Steve Wynn had raped her, but she was convinced the allegations against Steve Wynn were untrue.

“I informed Jorgen that the accusations simply could not be true. I have known Steve for many years and never witnessed any inappropriate behavior by him. If anything, I observed women aggressively coming on to and being inappropriate around Steve.

“Jorgen told me that I should say that Steve raped me and that I gave birth to my son as a result. He said something to the effect of ‘she can make it well worth your while.’ I understood Jorgen to be referring to Elaine Wynn. Jorgen suggested that Elaine would be willing to pay me a six-figure amount if I would say that Steve raped me. He said there was a ‘huge’ amount of money at stake and that I needed to be on the ‘winning team’ and not the ‘wynning team.’ I refused to be a pawn in his and Elaine’s awful scheme.

“To be clear, Steve never raped me. Steve is not my son’s father. Steve has only been a gentleman around me. For this reason and due to the brilliant man I think Steve is, I gave my son the middle name ‘Wynn.’ My son, certain of my friends and family, and I are so fond of Steve that we call him ‘Uncle’ Steve.”

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino at the Golden Nugget on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fire damages 7 cars at Las Vegas airport parking garage - VIDEO
Firefighters on Saturday morning extinguished a car blaze that damaged six other vehicles in a parking garage at McCarran International Airport. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Changes Everything: Grandma - LVCVA ad
"Grandma" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
Vegas Changes Everything: Chaos - LVCVA ad
"Chaos" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
New allegations involved Steve, Elaine Wynn - VIDEO
The new allegations were presented Friday in a motion that included a 2018 affidavit, alleging former hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen tried to convince a friend to say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son. The affidavit also included new allegations suggesting Elaine Wynn and Nielson orchestrated the assault scandal. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fitness chain Life Time acquires former Sullivan Square site
Fitness chain Life Time has acquired the former Sullivan Square site in Las Vegas for $14 million. The southwest valley property, across the street from Ikea, is little more than a giant hole in the ground. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm outlet mall changing its name - VIDEO
Chad Dillow, co-owner of Step Right Up, is building his attraction at Prizm Outlets, which recently changed it name from Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, in Primm. It will include 3D trick art, ax throwing, escape rooms and carnival-themed games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Phil Maloof on selling his Palms Place penthouse.
Phil Maloof sold his 59th-floor penthouse at Palms Place. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bleutech announces Las Vegas land purchase deal
Bleutech Park Properties reached a purchase agreement for 210 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, project spokesman Tom Letizia announced Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at a news conference at the M Resort. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stolen Dodge Challenger found, suspect arrested - VIDEO
A $250,000 custom-built Dodge Challenger was stolen on Oct. 30, 2019, just before it was to be displayed at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas this week. The thief was found by an Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, who rammed the trooper's car with the Challenger and got away. The suspect was ultimately arrested and the car recovered. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terbine's, a tech firm, decision to relocate business from Bay Area to Las Vegas
Terbine's, a tech firm, decision to relocate business from Bay Area to Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
A walk through the historic Huntridge Theater in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The Huntridge Theater became a musical venue in 1992 and was a staging ground for groups on the rise and alternative superstars, from Smashing Pumpkins to Sarah McLachlan, the Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day and Fugazi. The venue has been closed since 2004. This video, taken on Oct. 31, 2019, shows what's left of the theater after 15 years. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International looking to sell another property
MGM Resorts International is working to sell its MGM Grand property on the Las Vegas Strip. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Developer Sam Cherry reveals plans for shareDOWNTOWN.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz will attend this event where plans are revealed for a future apartment complex in the Arts District. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion update - VIDEO
Take a drive outside of the new Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project. (Severiano Galvan/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Binion's debuts a spinning bar overlooking Fremont Street Experience - VIDEO
Binion's debuted its spinning bar inside the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon. The Rotating bar only goes at one full rotation per 15 minutes overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Day 3 of the 2019 Global Gaming Expo
Day 3 of the 2019 Global Gaming Expo took place at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Southern Nevada could set a new resale-price record in coming months.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes – the bulk of the market – was $310,000 in September. Before the economy crashed last decade, prices peaked in June 2006 at $315,000, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Walmart container park in Henderson - VIDEO
Henderson could be home to a container park associated with a Walmart Inc. initiative. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resorts World construction update - Video
Resorts World Las Vegas continues its construction on the Las Vegas Strip. Review-Journal studio host Aaron Drawhorn and business reporter Rick Velotta go over the newest updates in the construction. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recession lessons could help Las Vegas face next slump - VIDEO
While the last economic downturn had a dramatic impact on local casinos, most experts expect the industry will be better able to weather the storm during the next recession. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
St. Rose Parkway Construction - Video
St. Rose Parkway continues to have construction along the six-and-a-half mile road. Review-Journal studio host Aaron Drawhorn and business reporter Eli Segall go over the construction projects that are coming to Henderson.
MGM and victims of Oct. 1 reach settlement agreement - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International and lawyers representing potentially thousands of victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip have reached a tentative settlement of between $735 million and $800 million. (Mat Luschek /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Live music and EDM dominate the night on day 2 of A’Le’Innstock
After sunset bands rocked the crowds at A’Le’Innstock in Rachel, Nevada on the second night of the event.
iPhone 11 Release
Local Las Vegas long time Apple product consumer shares her excitement for the new iPhone 11 release Downtown Summerlin. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lihi Levin talks about a mobil app Dropit - VIDEO
Lihi Levin, regional manager at Dropit Shopping, talks about a mobil app Dropit. The app lets customers leave their shopping bags at a store then have them delivered the same day to their home or hotel so they can shop without carrying multiple bags all day. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
North Las Vegas company prepares for Mars - VIDEO
Robert Bigelow and his Bigelow Aerospace manufacturing facility played host to eight NASA astronauts and 60 engineers this week getting to know the company’s B330 autonomous, expandable space station. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
IGT CFO Alberto Fornaro resigning

After reporting positive third quarter earnings, International Game Technology revealed Monday that its executive vice president and chief financial officer has resigned.