Healey says her office may have role in Wynn review

AG says there should be no licensing rush driven by casino construction timeline


ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY is anxious to read the findings of the Gaming Commission’s investigation into Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts and is not foreclosing upon the possibility of her office becoming involved in the ongoing quarrel.

“Yes, I think there is and will be a role for our office, though it depends on what the report ultimately says,” Healey said Tuesday during her semi-regular “Ask the AG” appearance on WGBH’s Boston Pubic Radio in response to a question from co-host Jim Braude.

Later, she added, “I want to see what the report says and I’m going to leave our options open in terms of what should happen next. I think we’re going to see the report in a very short time and we’ll have a better opportunity to assess there.”

After months of legal wrangling, the Gaming Commission voted last week to direct its lawyers to begin finalizing a settlement that could resolve the lawsuit former casino magnate Steve Wynn filed against the commission in November seeking to keep certain documents out of the commission’s investigative report. The commission had previously ordered an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn and whether those allegations were shielded from the commission during the casino licensing process.

The Gaming Commission will meet again Thursday and is expected to hold an executive session to discuss next steps in the case. The agenda for Thursday’s meeting also suggests the commission could vote on something related to the lawsuit after discussion in the private session.

A Gaming Commission spokeswoman said last week that the commission’s vote would have the effect of “guaranteeing that commissioners have access to important investigative information relevant to the Wynn Resorts suitability review.”

Healey said Tuesday that she hopes that is the case and that the commission’s investigators make “as full a report available as possible” to the commission.

“There are apparently some documents that aren’t going to be part of it but my hope is that it will be a full and complete enough report that will give the commission all of the information that it needs to be able to do this analysis,” she said.

The Gaming Commission’s report will be the foundation upon which regulators decide whether to revoke the Greater Boston area casino license awarded to Wynn Resorts in 2014. The report has been on hold for months pending the outcome of Steve Wynn’s lawsuit, but Wynn Resorts’ roughly $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett is 90 percent complete and plans to open this summer.

Healey, who has consistently opposed casino gambling, said Tuesday that the Gaming Commission should “feel no pressure whatsoever” from the fact that the Wynn Resorts-operated Encore Boston Harbor casino is nearing completion.

“They need to do their job, they need to do it well and to do it right, and I don’t care that a building’s been built,” she said. “The more important work and effort was to make sure that for this first go-round — this is our first test in this new industry of a suitability analysis — that it’s done well, that it’s done with complete information, full information and the facts, and that’s what the focus should be on. The fact that this structure is built or near built should not be what drives the decision-making of the commission.”

Last month, Wynn Resorts admitted in a settlement with Nevada gaming regulators that some of its former executives were aware of sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn and did not take steps to investigate the claims. None of those executives are still with the company.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board agreed Tuesday to fine Wynn Resorts a record $20 million after its own investigation “discovered multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and/or sexual harassment against Mr. Wynn.”

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KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported Chairman Tony Alamo said, “The fine needs to move the needle. Needs to ring across the entire country.”

In exchange for Wynn Resorts’ agreement to “admit to each and every allegation set forth in the Complaint” except a handful and its payment of the record fine, the Nevada board “agrees that it is not seeking to revoke or limit [Wynn Resorts’s] licenses, findings of suitability, or any other Commission approvals.”