Media Moves

Coverage: Wynn resigns as CEO of his resort company

February 8, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 6.51.21 PMSteve Wynn, the billionaire casino visionary considered to be the architect of modern Las Vegas, resigned Tuesday as chairman and chief executive of his company in the wake of sexual-misconduct allegations detailed in a Wall Street Journal investigation last month.

Maggie Astor and Julie Creswell of the New York Times had the news:

In a statement, Mr. Wynn said he was stepping down because “an avalanche of negative publicity” had created an environment “in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts.”

He will be replaced by Matt Maddox, who has been president of Wynn Resorts since 2013. Mr. Maddox joined the company in 2002 after working in corporate finance for what is now Caesars Entertainment.

Mr. Wynn, one of the most magnetic and polarizing figures in the gambling industry, was the subject of an in-depth Wall Street Journal investigationpublished late last month. The Journal found that Mr. Wynn, 76, had harassed female employees for decades and coerced them into sex.

Among other things, he was accused of demanding that women masturbate him or massage him naked. A manicurist said that when she went to his office for an appointment in 2005, he pressured her to disrobe, lie on his massage table and have sex. The woman told co-workers about the episode at the time and filed a human resources report. Ultimately, Mr. Wynn paid her a $7.5 million settlement, according to The Journal.

Jen Wieczner of Fortune reports that Wynn could still get $330 million after stepping down:

Not only has Wynn Resorts promised to pay its top executives their salary and bonuses for each year remaining in their contracts, the CEO has a special agreement that gives him a big extra boost: Steve Wynn is entitled to receive triple his annual allotment for a maximum of four years.

Because Wynn’s employment contract extends through the fall of 2022, he could receive three times his annual salary and bonus for the next four years. That means his salary of $2.5 million would balloon to a payout of $10 million, and his latest bonus of $25 million (split evenly between cash and stock) would multiply to $300 million—adding up to a total of $330 million. On top of that, the executive is owed $232,971 in benefits, according to Wynn Resorts’ latest disclosures.

The sum is greater than the gross domestic product of Micronesia. That doesn’t even include the magnate’s nearly 12% stake of Wynn Resorts stock, worth nearly $2.2 billion at current prices.

Jeff Daniels of reports that Wynn and the board of directors have been hit with a shareholder lawsuit:

The suit was filed in District Court in Clark County, Nevada on behalf of the Norfolk County Retirement System, a current stockholder of Wynn Resorts. The company is listed as a “nominal plaintiff” in the complaint. A nominal plaintiff is considered one with a technical connection to a dispute.

A Wynn Resorts representative declined to comment on the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff is seeking a jury trial. Amobi said it’s possible the lawsuit may ultimately get settled before a trial.

The complaint seeks unspecified financial damages for injury and losses sustained in connection with alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, abuse of fiduciary power and the alleged sexual harassment by Wynn. It claims “Wynn knowingly and intentionally breached his fiduciary duties by engaging in a pattern of intentional egregious misconduct and violations of law involving Wynn Resorts.”

The lawsuit also claims “knowing and intentional breaches of fiduciary duty by all members of the [Wynn Resorts] board.”

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