Steve Wynn Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Scandal
Accusations of sexual misconduct swirling all around him, Steve Wynn resigned late Tuesday as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. He had already stepped down as the finance chair of the Republican National Committee. The company’s Board of Directors has named Matt Maddox as Wynn’s replacement.
To say that Wynn engaged in sexual “misconduct” is putting it extremely lightly, if all the allegations against him are true. His downfall began with a January 26th expose in the Wall Street Journal, a piece which details a pattern of the casino mogul sexually assaulting and pressuring female employees into sexual acts. It’s frightening stuff.
The WSJ article begins with the story of a manicurist at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 who gave Wynn a manicure in his office. After the manicure was finished, “….he pressured her to take her clothes off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite…she told Mr. Wynn she didn’t want to have sex and was married, but he persisted in his demands that she do so, and ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex….”
Wynn later paid the manicurist a $7.5 million settlement, but he did that through a limited-liability company called Entity Y, created specifically to obfuscate the source of the payment.
The Wall Street Journal explained later in the January report that Wynn’s predatory behavior was so known and so common that employees would create fake appointments to give female employees an excuse not to see Wynn and some would pretend to be assistants to that female employees who couldn’t avoid Wynn wouldn’t have to be alone with him. Female employees would often hide if they knew he was coming to the salon.
Of course, a guy like Steve Wynn had a private massage room in his office suite. One massage therapist told the WSJ that Wynn had her come multiple times per week and would insist he be naked during the sessions. He escalated the encounters by rubbing the massage therapist’s leg while she was doing her job and then eventually told her to masturbate him to completion. This was a regular occurrence for months.
The stories go on and on. Wynn would expose himself to women on the regular, would make unwanted sexual requests and advances, etc. He was basically a monster and women were afraid to report him because they were embarrassed and Wynn was so powerful.
Oh, and if you guessed that a guy like Wynn would have German shepherds in his office that were trained to respond to commands in German, you would be right!
This week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal detailed additional allegations against Wynn by eleven waitresses at the Mirage in 1998, a property which Steve Wynn ran at the time. The allegations were contained in a court filing that the LVRJ had written about at the time, but that the newspaper nixed before publication.
One of the grossest parts of that story was how Wynn pressured a waitress in her late-40’s to have sex with him.
“I did it willingly, because I felt like I had to,” she told the LVRJ. “I didn’t really want to. I was afraid for my job.”
Wynn learned that the mother of eight had recently become a grandmother. He said he had “never had a grandmother before” and wanted “to see how it feels.” She told him on multiple occasions that she was uncomfortable with it all, but she needed the money to support her family, so she acquiesced.
In a statement released by Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn said his decision was made mainly because the news is too much of a distraction:
In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity. As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles. Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and chairman of the board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.
He has called the allegations “preposterous.”
In the meantime, a number of gaming commissions are investigating Wynn to determine if the licenses of Wynn or Wynn Resorts should be affected.
Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris said in a statement, “After completing our review, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is conducting an investigation with regard to the allegations of sexual misconduct involving Steve Wynn. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will conduct its investigation in a thorough and judicious manner.”
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded a license to Wynn Boston Harbor in 2014; the resort is expected to open next summer. It, too, is taking a look at things. Elaine Driscoll, director of communications for the MGC, said:
The Commission is now aware of and is taking very seriously the troubling allegations detailed in the Wall Street Journal article. The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process. Consequently, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will conduct a regulatory review of this matter to determine the appropriate next steps.
Regulators in Macau are also conducting an investigation. Wynn Resorts’ Board of Directors has hired a law firm to conduct its own independent investigation.