Wynn Resorts Hit With $20M Fine for Steve Wynn’s Sexual Misconduct
Wynn Resorts has been slapped with a record $20 million fine for its lack of workplace oversight and compliance connected to former Wynn Resorts CEO and board chairman Steve Wynn, who resigned his roles atop the Vegas casino giant a year ago after detailed accounts of decades of Wynn’s sexual misconduct came into public view.
The fine assessed against Wynn Resorts on Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) is punishment for the casino corporation’s ongoing role in downplaying, dismissing and otherwise covering up the allegations of sexual misconduct by Wynn during his years at the company’s helm.
Wynn departed his role at the company bearing his name in February 2018, amid the ongoing disgrace of the revelations made public. Among the more serious allegations was his alleged rape of a Wynn Resorts spa employee that resulted in her becoming pregnant. Wynn paid $7.5 million in 2005 to resolve that matter.
The fine levied by the NGC against Wynn Resorts applies only to the company’s role in covering up the activities of its CEO, and does not address Steve Wynn’s personal liabilities, should such exist. The 78-year-old Wynn was also forced to divest his significant ownership in Wynn Resorts shares as a condition of his forced ouster.
The $20 million fine is by far the largest ever assessed by the NGC, vastly outpacing a $5.5 million penalty assessed in 2014 against CG Technology (formerly Cantor Gaming), over unlawful activities conducted at many CG-operated sportsbooks in Nevada.
That the $20 million fine traces back to the activities of just one powerful man is somewhat incredible. “It’s not about one man,” NGC Commissioner Philip Pro said, in a statement. “It’s about a failure of a corporate culture to effectively govern itself as it should.”
NGC Chairman Tony Alamo said, “It needs to move needles here. It needs to ring across the entire country.” Alamo added that it “makes it clear to all licensees that this culture cannot be tolerated.” Other board commissioners acknowledged that an even higher fine was considered, without offering a specific number.
The settlement agreed to by the NGC and Wynn Resorts includes a statement of how the company plans to address sexual-misconduct claims or similar matters in the future, when and if they arise. Here’s what Wynn Resorts offered by way of corporate mea culpa:
Since its creation almost two decades ago, Respondents [Wynn Resorts an Wynn Las Vegas] have prided themselves on their culture of compliance and commitment to their employees. Over the last year, Respondents have realized, through the Board’s investigation as well as its own, that respondents fell short of their culture and commitment in perhaps one of the most important areas for an employer — focusing on its employees. Respondents have focused on a single man, rather than the Company’s greatest asset, its 25,000 employees:
Respondents have undergone an extensive self-examination over the past twelve months, intended to reinvigorate and implement meaningful change across all levels of the organization, to cultivate a safe, healthy, and supportive workplace culture, and to build on their core values of respecting their employees, corporate responsibility and citizenship, and service to the community. And Respondents represent that they have been successful in that regard.
In sum, these 25,000 employees, led by CEO Matt Maddox and a reshaped Board of Directors, are the Company that stands before the Commission today, and not Steve Wynn… .
Under the terms of the settlement, Wynn Resorts waived its right to a public hearing on the allegations, and the NGC has agreed not to consider suspension or forfeiture of Wynn’s Nevada gaming licenses as a possible remedy for the ongoing workplace issues. One small stumbling point in the negotiations between the two sides appears to have been the knowledge (if any) that Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden had about the complaints over Wynn’s sexual misconduct. The settlement excludes any activity or claims related to Wooden, who resigned his post at Wynn LV in December.