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Wynn dispute forces ex-Nevada governor into 3-day deposition

Former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller probably thought balancing the state budget was difficult.

It may prove a simple matter compared with juggling all the interests and intrigue associated with the battle between Elaine Wynn and ex-husband and Wynn Resorts CEO and Chairman Steve Wynn.

The former Mrs. Wynn, president of the State Board of Education, is suing to gain full control of her 9.4-percent share of the company. The Wynns divorced in 2010, and last year she was voted off the board of directors. Although Steve Wynn voted to retain his wife on the board, he was in the minority.

For his part, Miller headed the board’s nominating committee. Now he may wish he was heading for high ground as Elaine Wynn’s attorneys seek to compel further deposition testimony from the former governor.

The lawsuit alleges Steve Wynn breached his fiduciary duty, sought to oust her and has been operating the company in a reckless manner. A recent filing has questioned Wynn board member Dr. Ray Irani’s suitability to serve the company. Steve Wynn has previously called the allegations “falsehoods and distortions.”

According to a statement filed on behalf of Elaine Wynn, “The resumed deposition of Governor Miller seeks to examine whether the Board has fulfilled its fiduciary responsibilities to its shareholders, including by seeking much-needed clarity as to the process leading to the Board’s unprecedented decision not to renominate Ms. Wynn — the only time in Wynn Resorts’ history that a director has been denied renomination.”

In a statement, a Steve Wynn spokesman said the latest filing was a legal misdirection intended to “make headlines.”

“Governor Miller, in his position as Chairman of the Nominating Committee and member of the board, has already completed three full days of testimony and turned over all relevant documents to attorneys,” the statement reads. “Governor Miller was the longest-serving Governor of Nevada and is a deeply respected member of the community and our board. He has chaired the Corporate Governance Committee of other public companies, as well as ours.

“Elaine Wynn’s recent actions are self-serving and vindictive. By attempting to sensationalize a routine legal filing, Elaine Wynn demonstrates her desperation to damage not only the company, but as many people associated with it as possible.”

RIV REDUX: Talk of an attempt to preserve the shuttered “historic” Riviera has some readers cackling, but during a regular trip up the Strip another fact becomes embarrassingly obvious: With a couple of exceptions, the north end of the famous thoroughfare looks like a war zone.

The Riviera, which eventually figures to be imploded, is as out of date as my wardrobe. (Although informed sources tell me platform shoes are coming back, baby.) The nearby Peppermill, still a great place for affordable food and drink, is another movie set from the ‘70s.

But the stalled Fontainebleau and seemingly abandoned former Stardust site are the real eyesores on that stretch of the Boulevard.

Although headed for the scrap heap of local history, the Riviera is a proverbial jewel by comparison.

HIGH ROLLING: While driving up the Boulevard this week, I passed a mobile billboard advertising the hookup-friendly High Roller observation wheel at the LINQ. All the persons depicted were fully clothed.

Does that constitute false advertising?

ON THE BOULEVARD: Review-Journal Assistant City Editor Lisa Kim Bach, who died Wednesday at age 49 after battling cancer, was a consummate professional who possessed the kind of lightheartedness that took stress out of the newsroom. What a sweetheart and a sadness. … With homicide and street gang activity on the rise, Metro has announced a “semipermanent” unit to battle violent crime in the valley. Locals in poor and working-class neighborhoods are surely wondering what’s taken so long.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Contact him at 702-383-0295 or jsmith@reviewjournal.com. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith

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