As hearings begin, Steve Wynn eluding disciplinary action

No charges filed against him yet; stock sales net casino mogul $2.1b

THE MASSACHUSETTS GAMING COMMISSION opens a series of hearings this week on the sexual misconduct of Steve Wynn, but the gambling mogul is unlikely to attend and unlikely to face any disciplinary action despite allegations of rape and sexual harassment.

The Gaming Commission on Tuesday is expected to release its report on Wynn’s sexual misconduct, what his coworkers knew about it, and what the company has done since to make sure the company never finds itself in this situation again. The goal is to determine the company’s suitability to retain the license it holds in Massachusetts to open a $2.6 billion hotel and casino in June. The five commissioners, deliberating in private, will decide the fate of the license, a spokeswoman said.

A preview of what is likely to be in the Massachusetts report was contained in a complaint filed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on January 25. That complaint was light on details but covered the major allegations. It said that a manicurist who worked in the company’s Las Vegas salon alleged Steve Wynn raped and impregnated her in 2005. A cocktail server claimed she was forced to have sex with Wynn from 2005 until 2006. There were also several allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment for which few details were provided. Although Steve Wynn has never admitted any wrongdoing, Wynn Resorts agreed to nearly every allegation in the Nevada report.

Ultimately, the Nevada Gaming Commission imposed a $20 million fine on the company, but allowed it to retain its license to operate in Las Vegas. Steve Wynn faced no disciplinary action and neither did seven Wynn Resorts employees who the report said became aware of the allegations against Steve Wynn but failed to investigate or failed to alert those who could investigate. Wynn and the seven employees had left the company by the time the Nevada report was issued, placing them beyond the reach of the commission.

One of the seven employees was Kim Sinatra, the company’s executive vice president and general counsel, who left Wynn Resorts last August with a $1.8 million severance payment and stock valued at $7.3 million, according to a recently released company proxy statement.

Steve Wynn hasn’t faced any disciplinary action yet.  A spokeswoman for the Clark County district attorney’s office in Las Vegas said no charges have been filed against Wynn in connection with the allegations raised by former employees, but cautioned that any criminal complaint would be initiated by the police.

It’s unclear whether any of the employees alleging sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn would cooperate with a criminal probe or prosecution. The Nevada report said Wynn personally paid a $7.5 settlement to the manicurist and her husband and a $950,000 settlement to the cocktail server and her parents. The cocktail server reportedly threatened to go public with what Wynn did to her in early 2018, but Wynn’s attorneys called in the FBI and accused her of extortion, a charge her attorney denied. She has made no public statements.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s complaint did not mention whether Wynn negotiated settlements with the others who alleged sexual misconduct and harassment.

Two women also stepped forward in February 2018, with one alleging Wynn raped and impregnated her in the early 1970s and the other claiming she had sex with Wynn when she was a dealer and he was running the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas. The second woman claimed she “felt coerced to perform the acts” and lost her job when she rejected his advances. According to press reports, the rape allegation was not investigated because it was beyond the 20-year statute of limitations in Nevada.

Wynn left Wynn Resorts in February 2018. He received no severance package, and signed a separation agreement in which he agreed he would not compete against the company until at least February 15, 2020.

Wynn also agreed to sell his 12 million shares in the company – and his timing was pretty good.  On March 21, 2018, he sold 4.1 million shares on the open market at a price of $180 per share. A day later he sold his remaining 8 million shares to two investment firms at $175 per share. All told, his stock sales netted him $2.1 billion.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

As it turns out, the timing of Wynn’s stock sales was fortuitous. Since those stock trades, the Wynn stock rose to a peak closing price of $201.51 on May 10, 2018, but then plunged to a low of $92.01 on December 24, 2018, before rebounding somewhat over the last several months. On Friday, the stock closed at $119.32, roughly $61 a share lower than what Wynn sold his stock for.