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Wynn’s sexual harassment lawsuit officially comes to a close

Updated January 30, 2024 - 6:31 pm

The U.S. District Court judge overseeing a 2019 sexual harassment lawsuit against Wynn Resorts Ltd. by nine anonymous women has signed off on a settlement agreement first announced in September.

Judge Gloria Navarro on Friday — nearly six years to the day since a major scandal at Wynn began — granted a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice, which means the case will not be further appealed or brought back to court.

The settlement was first announced Sept. 6 and the settlement amount and other details were sealed by the court.

The judge’s action brings to a close a series of events that has forever changed Wynn Resorts, ranging from the departures of several executives to a revamping of the company’s board of directors.

Over time, it has cost the Las Vegas-based company millions of dollars in fines and resulted in the permanent departure of one of casino gaming’s most recognizable figures, former chairman and CEO Steve Wynn.

Representatives of Wynn Resorts on Monday had no comment on the court action.

The group of nine women, workers at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas’ salon, alleged they had been sexually harassed for years. They filed a lawsuit against the company and Steve Wynn in 2019, a year after he left the company.

In court filings, the women gave graphic descriptions of how Steve Wynn asked personal questions of a sexual nature, forced them to massage him near his genital area and required them to provide services to him in secluded areas, including his office.

Wynn has said he has never harassed or sexually assaulted anybody. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The first disclosure of allegations against Wynn occurred Jan. 27, 2018, when the Wall Street Journal published a story about the harassment allegations.

In the months following his departure, Steve Wynn divested his financial holdings in the company and moved out of a villa on the property where he had lived. He also resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The court case filed by the women, who are referred to in court documents as “Judy Does Nos. 1-9” and worked in the salon as manicurists or makeup artists, took many twists and turns since it was first filed and initially heard by U.S. District Judge James Mahan in March 2019.

In July 2020, Mahan said the women’s pleadings were too vague, and the case was forwarded to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appellate ruling, argued in October 2021, said the District Court action was in part affirmed but in part reversed and as a result was remanded to District Court, where it was reassigned to Navarro.

The appellate court, in its ruling, said the Judy Does “repeatedly expressed a willingness to provide more information, so long as their privacy could be assured.” The court added that “while the Judy Does had no automatic right to file an amended complaint, the District Court still should have granted leave to amend when dismissing claims that could be cured with additional facts.”

Wynn Resorts paid the Nevada Gaming Control Board $20 million in February 2019 for failing to investigate sexual misconduct claims made by employees. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined the company another $35 million and Wynn’s CEO successor, Matt Maddox, $500,000 for failing to disclose the allegations against Wynn when it was applying for a license there. Massachusetts also wanted to keep Wynn’s name off the building so it was named Encore Boston Harbor.

In June, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved a settlement with Steve Wynn for $10 million that essentially prevents him from participating in gaming in the state. Wynn, who turned 82 on Saturday, lives in Florida.

The Wynn board of directors was revamped with several new members and several executives left the company in the wake of Steve Wynn’s departure.

Among those who departed was former Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden, who last week was named the new president of Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

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

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