Thu, Feb 08, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Wynn resigns amid misconduct claims

FALLOUT:Regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts have launched investigations into the casino mogul, while Macau authorities have expressed concern about the charges

AP, LAS VEGAS

Casino mogul Steve Wynn on Tuesday resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd amid sexual misconduct allegations.

The Las Vegas-based company said in a statement that Wynn’s resignation was effective immediately.

It came less than two weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of women said Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a US$7.5 million settlement.

“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in a written statement. “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgement takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”

The billionaire has vehemently denied the report’s allegations, which he has attributed to a campaign led by his ex-wife.

An attorney for Elaine Wynn has denied that she instigated the news report.

Steve Wynn now faces investigations by gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts, where the company is building an about US$2.4 billion casino just outside Boston.

The company earlier said a committee of independent directors would investigate the allegations that surfaced on Jan. 26.

Ahead of the announcement, shares of Wynn Resorts’ China arm, Wynn Macau Ltd (永利澳門), were yesterday morning suspended from trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Gambling regulators in Macau, the world’s biggest casino market, last week said they were concerned about the reports and had met with executives of Wynn Macau to get more information, and the company said it would cooperate with any requests.

Wynn Macau has two casino-resorts in the territory, which is the company’s biggest source of profits.

Wynn is a titan in Sin City and played a major role in the Las Vegas Strip’s revitalization in the 1990s. He built the Bellagio, Treasure Island and Mirage before he sold his Mirage Resorts company in 2000.

Two years later, he founded Wynn Resorts, which now operates two luxurious casino-resorts in the city and is in the process of building a lake and hotel development called Paradise Park on the site of a former golf course.

Wynn’s two Macau casinos include the older Wynn Macau near the former Portuguese colony’s historic old town and the Wynn Palace, which in 2016 became the latest opulent resort to open in the new district of Cotai, joining lavish developments by rivals including Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Wynn resigned as finance chairman of the US Republican National Committee a day after the allegations were published.

Since 2013, Wynn has contributed nearly US$2.4 million to Republican candidates and party organizations around the country, including Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and last year’s special election winners.

Some Republicans in US Congress, including US Senator Dean Heller, have already announced they are donating contributions they received from Wynn to charity.

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