Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn resigns amid sex misconduct claims

By: 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Facing investigations by gambling regulators and allegations of sexual misconduct, billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn has stepped down as chairman and CEO of the resorts bearing his names.

The Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts in a statement said Wynn’s resignation Tuesday was effective immediately. It came less than two weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of women said Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement.

“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” Wynn said in a written statement. “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”

Wynn has vehemently denied the report’s allegations, which he attributes to a campaign led by his ex-wife. An attorney for Elaine Wynn has denied that she instigated the news report.

Wynn now faces investigations by gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts, where the company is building a roughly $2.4 billion casino just outside Boston. The company earlier said a committee of independent directors would investigate the allegations that surfaced Jan. 26.

Shares of Wynn Resorts’ China arm, Wynn Macau Ltd., were suspended from trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday in Asia. Gambling regulators in Macau, the world’s biggest casino market, said they were officially notified about the resignation.

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau also said in a statement that its director, Paulo Martins Chan, and the city’s financial and economic secretary, Lionel Leong, met last week with Wynn Macau Executive Director Linda Chen to request a detailed explanation of the allegations and demand Wynn notify it of any “result, progress or important information” from the investigation within an unspecified time frame. The company, which said previously it would cooperate with the regulator’s requests, operates two casino-resorts in the Chinese enclave that generate about two-thirds of its total revenues.

A wave of sexual misconduct claims against prominent figures in entertainment, media and politics gained momentum last fall in the aftermath of articles detailing movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged rape and harassment. But Wynn is the first CEO and founder of a major publicly held company to come under scrutiny since the Weinstein allegations surfaced.

Wynn is a titan in Sin City and played a major role in the revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. 

 

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