Tougher sexual-harassment policies seen after Steve Wynn’s resignation

It’s been about a month since Steve Wynn stepped down as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Since then, two lawsuits from unnamed accusers against Wynn for sexual harassment have reached Clark County District Court, and five derivative lawsuits have been filed by investors who say Wynn’s actions and the board’s lack of response devalued their holdings.

Investigations are continuing in Nevada, Massachusetts and Macau.

Nevada’s Gaming Control Board announced it will strengthen regulations on sexual harassment policies.

Meanwhile, Steve Wynn has said little, other than the allegations are the fault of his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn — and she has denied that.

Representatives for Steve Wynn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Regulators working investigations

While the lawsuits probably won’t reach the courtroom for some time, regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts say they’re working in their respective states to investigate Wynn’s actions thoroughly, but they won’t offer any details, just as they don’t on any ongoing investigation.

“It’s ongoing,” state Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris said Monday after a Gaming Policy Committee meeting in Las Vegas.

Harris wouldn’t discuss a timeline for completing the investigation or whether Wynn or any company executives would be called to testify in regulatory hearings.

Her counterpart at the Nevada Gaming Commission, Tony Alamo, also said Monday he couldn’t comment on the matter, since he and other commissioners would serve as adjudicators to any disciplinary matter brought by the Control Board.

Massachusetts update

In Massachusetts, where Wynn Resorts is building a resort near Boston Harbor on the Mystic River for $2.4 billion, regulators are taking a similar tack.

“This sort of confidentiality in active investigations is, as you know, a common practice,” Loretta Lillios, deputy director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, said to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at a Feb. 22 meeting. “It was the IEB’s practice with the initial investigations into the suitability of applicants for gaming licenses, and it’s important that the practice be maintained now.”

Lillios said it’s understandable that commissioners and the public are interested in the outcome of the investigation, since the project is a significant economic development driver, “but we all need to keep our eye on the greatest interest here, which is the public interest and the integrity of the process.”

Name change under consideration

An added twist in Massachusetts is the public call for Wynn’s name to be removed from the project and the building.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker fueled discussion about removing the name last week when he said that option “should be on the table.”

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said it would be a consideration.

“From the commission’s perspective, we are first required to complete our investigation and have a full accounting of the facts before we predetermine outcomes or speculate about next steps,” said spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll. “However, we fully appreciate and respect the concerns of the governor as well as the others who have expressed opinions on this serious matter.”

The Wynn Resorts board is conducting its own investigation but hasn’t discussed it publicly. The board has been named as well as Wynn in the five derivative lawsuits alleging a devaluation of share price.

Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the Norfolk County Retirement System of Massachusetts, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the Boynton Beach Municipal Firefighters Pension Trust Fund in Florida, the Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis and the Operating Engineers Construction Industry and Miscellaneous Pension Fund in Pennsylvania.

“The board of directors remained willfully blind to the sexual predation of (the company’s) former chief executive officer, Steve Wynn, and after this damaging information came to the board’s attention, the directors decided to align themselves with Steve Wynn — not the company, its shareholders or its employees,” a statement from the attorneys representing the Boynton Beach pension fund said after filing their lawsuit.

New complications

A separate court action last week further complicated legal proceedings.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzales dismissed a motion from Steve Wynn to terminate an agreement with Elaine Wynn that would have allowed both of them to sell their stock shares.

Steve Wynn’s holding of more than 10 percent of the company stock produces another layer of scrutiny for regulators to examine, because he continues to be licensed as a beneficial owner of shares.

Nevada regulators already have taken a couple of actions related to the Wynn case.

Immediately after Wynn resigned, the Control Board enabled a link on its website so that the public could submit information on active investigations. In making the announcement, Harris said the link is for all investigations, not just the Wynn inquiry.

Last week, Harris announced the Control Board is preparing to consider additional regulations related to workplace sexual harassment. Workshop meetings are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead.

While the controversy involving Steve Wynn has swirled for weeks, company executives have been at work on damage control.

When Wynn stepped down Feb. 6, the board immediately hired Matt Maddox as the company’s new CEO.

In the last month, Maddox has conducted informational meetings with nearly 900 company leaders at Wynn Las Vegas and in Boston. A spokesman for the company on Monday said Maddox would complete meetings with all Wynn Las Vegas employees in the next two weeks.

Company initiatives

Maddox also launched four company initiatives:

— A women’s leadership forum to create and measure initiatives that will drive equal opportunity and the advancement of women.

— Six weeks’ paid parental leave following the birth, adoption or foster care addition of a child, including a one-time $250 gift to offset unexpected expenses for new parents.

— Ten new full scholarships, equally divided between men and women, to qualifying Wynn Las Vegas employees and family members.

— A paid-time-off program for hourly employees to participate in company community programs during work hours.

A company spokesman said Wynn Las Vegas has not detected any increase in cancellation rates since Steve Wynn’s resignation and allegations against him. Except for the Republican Governors Association conference scheduled in 2020, no conventions have been canceled at the property.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
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
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like