Sun, Jan 28, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Wynn shaken by misconduct allegations

POLITICAL SPONSOR:The finance chair of the US Republican National Committee has contributed millions to Republican candidates and organizations since 2013

AP, NEW YORK

Wynn Resorts is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by founder Steve Wynn detailed in a Wall Street Journal report that sent shares of the casino company tumbling more than 10 percent on Friday.

The newspaper reported that a number women have said that they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul and finance chair of the US Republican National Committee.

One case led to a US$7.5 million settlement with a manicurist, the newspaper reported.

The detailed report relied on interviews with dozens of people who corroborated a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct with female employees.

The company said it is committed to operating with the “highest ethical standards and maintaining a safe and respectful culture.”

Wynn, who is chairman and CEO of the company he founded, is a titan in Las Vegas and played a major role in the revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. It was Wynn’s company that built the Golden Nugget, the Bellagio and Mirage Resorts in the heart of the town.

A wave of sexual misconduct claims against prominent figures in entertainment, media and politics gained momentum last fall in the aftermath of articles detailing movie producer’s Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged rape and harassment.

However, Wynn is the first CEO and founder of a major publicly held company to come under scrutiny since the Weinstein allegations surfaced.

There already appeared to be immediate business implications for the casino magnate.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Friday said it is launching a review following the allegations published by the Wall Street Journal.

Spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said the commission’s investigations and enforcement bureau would conduct a regulatory review to determine the appropriate next steps, adding that “the suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance.”

Wynn is building an about US$2.5 billion resort in the Boston suburb of Everett.

In a lengthy statement, Wynn and his company both attributed the allegations to a campaign led by Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn.

“The conduct of Elaine during the course of the pending lawsuits has been shocking and deeply disturbing to me personally and as the CEO of Wynn Resorts,” Steve Wynn said.

The Wall Street Journal said that none of the alleged victims reached out to the publication.

Instead, the newspaper said it sought out more than 150 people who had worked for Wynn, many of whom did not want to go on record for fear of losing their jobs.

The newspaper reported that Wynn’s actions were well-known enough that employees would sometimes enter fake appointments in the books to help other female workers avoid him. In some cases, female employees in the salon would hide in back rooms if they knew Wynn was on his way to the casino.

Wynn Resorts said there has never been a complaint made about Wynn to the company’s independent hotline for reporting harassment.

The White House and the Republican National Committee did not respond to requests for comment on Friday on Wynn’s status as the committee’s finance chair.

Wynn has been a prolific Republican donor, last year contributing more than US$600,000 to Republican causes, US Federal Election Commission data showed.

Among his beneficiaries are US Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, whose re-election campaign received almost US$19,000 from Wynn and his wife last year.

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