Wynn Resorts on hook for $1.3m in legal fees

Tab for law firms defending Gaming Commission from Steve Wynn

THE MASSACHUSETTS GAMING COMMISSION paid about $1.25 million to five outside law firms defending the agency and one of its top employees in a lawsuit brought by Steve Wynn, but officials say the legal tab will be picked up by Wynn Resorts.

The invoices for legal work, released Friday in response to a public records request, indicated the Gaming Commission retained two law firms in Boston, two in Nevada, and one in New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the costs will be paid by Wynn Resorts under a provision in state law that requires the state’s gaming licensees to cover the cost of any investigation by the agency.  A spokesman for Wynn Resorts confirmed casino licensees pick up all the costs of the Gaming Commission.

A Gaming Commission spokesman said the agency had not tabulated the total cost of its outside legal fees. The invoices themselves are difficult to sort out, so estimates could be off somewhat.

The tab for legal fees isn’t the only cost Wynn Resorts was hit with this week. The Gaming Commission on Tuesday said the company could retain its Massachusetts casino license if it paid a $35 million fine and if CEO Matt Maddox paid a $500,000 assessment.

Meet the Author
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.

The law firms were retained when Steve Wynn alleged last fall that Wynn Resorts illegally turned over documents to the Gaming Commission that were covered by attorney-client privilege. In November, Wynn sued the Gaming Commission; the commission’s chief investigator, Karen Wells; and Wynn Resorts. The suit was eventually resolved with the Gaming Commission agreeing to withhold some information covered by attorney-client privilege from its report on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its Massachusetts casino license.

The two Boston law firms were Anderson & Krieger ($905,000 in invoices) and Rubin and Rudman ($121,000). The commission also retained local counsel in Las Vegas, where Steve Wynn brought his suit. Smith & Shapiro ($50,000) represented the commission and Hutchinson & Steffen ($166,000) was retained to represent Wells. Michael & Carroll, a firm from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, was also retained, but its invoice for $9,000 were blacked out so it was impossible to ascertain what work it did.