THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said Steve Wynn’s resignation as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts will be a factor in the agency’s investigation of the company but it won’t bring an end to the probe.
Ed Bedrosian told members of the Gaming Commission on Wednesday that Wynn’s resignation reflects how the company is responding to allegations contained in a Wall Street Journal article alleging Wynn engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct at the company for more than a decade.
But he said the investigation has much more ground to cover, including whether Wynn still has a say in the company through his ownership of 12 percent of the stock and whether his departure will negatively affect the firm’s brand and its finances. Details of Wynn’s separation agreement with the company that bears his name have not been released yet.
The Gaming Commission is also investigating the suitability of other key officials at Wynn Resorts with a focus on what they knew about Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct, when they knew it, and what they did about it.
Gaming Commission officials have said any finding about the suitability of Steve Wynn and other officials at the company will potentially impact the suitability finding for the company as a whole. Commission officials have said one option available to them is to withdraw the company’s casino license, which could jeopardize the company’s $2.4 billion investment in a casino under construction in Everett.
Eleven individuals were identified in the Gaming Commission’s suitability report on Wynn Resorts in December 2013, including Wynn and the man chosen to replace him as CEO, Matthew Maddox, and the man replacing him as board chairman, D. Boone Wayson. The others were Kimmarie Sinatra, senior vice president and general counsel; John Strzemp, chief administrative officer; and corporate directors Alvin Shoemaker, Robert Miller, Elaine Wynn, Ray Irani, Edward Virtue, and John Hagenbuch.
Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the Gaming Commission, called into the meeting and asked whether Maddox or Wayson were aware of a private $7.5 million settlement Steve Wynn negotiated with an employee in 2005. The Wall Street Journal article said the settlement was with a manicurist whom Wynn pressured to have sex.
“A central question is what did the board’s directors and staff know about the settlement and when did they know it,” Crosby said.
Bedrosian said he had no information he could provide to Crosby.
Gaming Commission officials have said Wynn Resorts officials confirmed the existence of the settlement and also that it was not disclosed to the agency’s investigators in 2013 upon advice of counsel.
As part of litigation brought by Steve Wynn’s ex-wife Elaine, she alleged in March 2016 that she had asked Sinatra, the company’s general counsel, about a private settlement her ex-husband had negotiated with a company employee. Elaine Wynn claimed Sinatra told her “that Mr. Wynn had decided the matter should not be disclosed to the board or other company counsel.”
In its suitability report on Steve Wynn in 2013, the Gaming Commission identified Wynn as “probably the most well-known gaming executive in the country, if not the world. His name has become synonymous with casinos. Reams of print and many hours of audio and video have addressed this charismatic figure. Because of Steve Wynn’s notoriety, one can find many reports raising questions about his background. The IEB’s [Investigations and Enforcement Bureau] investigation reviewed those reports and found that none of them raised any issues that prevented a recommendation of Steve Wynn’s suitability.”