On Wynn allegations: 'What the hell happened here' asks Massachusetts official
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
Steve Wynn got it on both coasts today.
We'll begin in Las Vegas, on a beautiful Wednesday, with the last thing you want flying over a city that has a resort with your name on it: a plane, flying a banner.
It said "Wynn is a sexual predator. Hashtag: fire Wynn."
The sign and plane were courtesy of the activist women's group Ultraviolet.
“We don't have specific plans to fly another plane, but we'll be pulling out all the stops to make sure Wynn Resorts hears loud and clear that they must prove it stands against sexual assault,” says Karin Roland, the group’s Chief Campaigns Officer.
Ultraviolet says the plane was going to fly directly over the resort. It never made it.
“The plane covered traffic going towards the Strip. It was just not able to get over the Strip. Because of the flight pattern on that given day from McCarran Airport we could not get over the Wynn Hotel,” said Patrick Walsh, the CEO of AirSign Aerial Advertising.
For Steve Wynn, the tsunami hit Friday: The Wall Street Journal reported Wynn had a decades-long record of sexual misconduct with female workers. The story claimed he even paid one woman seven point five million to settle a claim.
He's denied everything and says the report was driven by his ex-wife, with whom he's fighting in court.
A spokesperson for Elaine Wynn says she had nothing to do with it.
In Boston today, where Wynn is building a two-point four-billion-dollar resort, the news has gaming regulators reexamining Wynn and his company.
A gaming commission investigator says it never knew about that seven-and-a-half-million-dollar payout.
“The public has a right to know, the people of Massachusetts have a right to know what the hell happened here, and no punches pulled, good, bad or indifferent,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.
Massachusetts officials will look to see whether the allegations that emerged Friday jeopardize Wynn Resort’s “suitability status.” Crosby says any decisions, up to and including revoking the company’s license, will be based on the facts learned during its investigation.
Tuesday, our gaming control board announced its own probe. “The Nevada Gaming Control Board will conduct its investigation in a thorough and judicious manner,” said GCB Chair Becky Harris.
“They could possibly do nothing, they could fine him, they could ask for changes in their compliance procedures, or they could even want him to step down,” says Dave Schwartz, the Director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.
Friday night, as the gaming industry digested the Wall Street Journal report, Wynn Resorts announced a special committee of its Board of Directors will investigate the allegations, headed up by Wynn Director and former water authority chief Pat Mulroy.
At UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, Professor Benjamin Edwards, an expert in corporate governance, says he’s seeing reports law firms are already sniffing out shareholder lawsuits. He says the Wynn investigation could not only look at the actions of Steve Wynn himself, but also the board of directors: what did they know, and when.
“I can’t tell you whether or not the board is going to have liability here,” Edwards says. “I can tell you that this looks like it’s probably an oversight liability case, and what the courts are most likely going to be interested in is whether or not the board knew about these allegations.”
The Commission is not involved at this point and cannot comment on hypotheticals or the Board’s investigations.
"I have the utmost trust in the Board and their abilities to do right by the state of Nevada and all of its licensees and gaming employees. This matter will be treated like any other to ensure that everyone involved is treated fairly and complies with our statutes and regulations," said Tony Alamo, M.D. Chairman of Nevada Gaming Commission.