Wynn Resorts security chief gone after spying admission

James Stern copped to covert tactics in hearing last week

THE FORMER FBI AGENT who headed up Wynn Resorts’ security operation no longer has a job at the international casino business four days after telling regulators he spied on employees and the ex-wife of the company’s founder.

The casino company, which plans to open an Everett resort in June, has been under scrutiny since a January 2018 Wall Street Journal story reported on multiple allegations of sexual harassment and worse against founder Steve Wynn, who resigned soon after the story was published.

As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission attempted to determine whether Wynn Resorts should keep its casino license, the company’s security chief, James Stern, acknowledged that he covertly surveilled Elaine Wynn and also spied on others, including one of the sources for the newspaper story.

According to a legal brief filed with the Gaming Commission on Monday, Matt Maddox, the CEO of Wynn Resorts,  contacted Stern on Saturday and told him his services were no longer needed. The filing also said “no surveillance will be conducted of employees or third parties without the permission of the chief global compliance officer and the general counsel or other in-house counsel to whom she delegates responsibility.”

Stern told the commission that he only surveilled Elaine Wynn when she was in the company of Kazuo Okada, a Wynn Resorts investor who Stern claimed had organized crime connections, but a spokeswoman for Elaine Wynn later said she has never met with Okada.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

The 49-page legal brief, which described the dismissal of Stern as a “remedial measure,”  argued that Wynn Resorts should retain its casino license in Massachusetts and that no action be taken against Maddox, who faced hard grilling from several commissioners during a three-day hearing last week. The hard questions focused on Maddox’s lackluster initial response to the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Steve Wynn,

“Mr. Maddox’s initial response was based on his utter disbelief that Mr. Wynn engaged in such egregious conduct. Mr. Maddox’s immediate actions reflected that belief, but his subsequent actions are clear and convincing evidence that his suitability determination should not be disturbed,” the legal brief says. “To be clear, there is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Maddox was aware of any of the allegations of sexual misconduct at the time that they were made to other executives. No one has testified (or even suggested) that Mr. Maddox was aware of those allegations—not one email or other piece of evidence exists to show that he was advised of those allegations, and he has twice testified under oath that he was not aware of them. That other executives knew and failed to
advise Mr. Maddox is their failure, not his.”