The increasingly nasty legal squabble between Wynn Resorts chairman Steve Wynn and Universal Entertainment chairman Kazuo Okada ratcheted up another notch this week, with Wynn arguing against the proceedings moving to US federal court. On Thursday, Wynn’s attorneys filed a request in federal court in Las Vegas, protesting Okada’s attorneys scheme to move the case out of the Nevada state court system as “an improper attempt to forum shop.” Wynn is arguing that the breach of fiduciary claims it brought against Okada are entirely based on state law, thus no need for the feds to get involved. Okada’s team doesn’t want the case heard by the same state court judge who rejected Okada’s request to access Wynn’s books in order to investigate Wynn’s fishy $135m donation to the University of Macau.
If you’re a latecomer to this saga, here’s the backstory. Many years ago, Steve Wynn traveled to the mysterious Far East to study martial arts under the tutelage of Okada’s sensei, Mitsuo Kamikaze. After years of study, Steve finished his training, then betrayed and murdered Kamikaze, after which Steve fled home to the US, taking with him the knowledge of the secret five-finger-two-ball death grip. Okada swore vengeance and tracked Steve across the globe until finally cornering him by the buffet at the Encore in Las Vegas, where Okada uttered the immortal phrase: “You killed my teacher.” (Okay, that’s our fantasy, but the truth is only slightly less dramatic. Start here.)
The battle with Okada isn’t just costing Steve Wynn attorney fees; it’s also costing him some (Wall) street cred. International business magazine Barron’s has bumped Wynn from its annual tally of the globe’s top-30 corporate titans, and specifically cited Wynn’s hair-pulling bitch-fight with Okada as justification. Wynn was one of a dozen CEOs dismissed from this year’s list, but many of those were dropped because they’d retired or (in Steve Jobs’ case) had shuffled off this mortal coil. We figure the Barron’s slight probably irked Steve more than anything Okada allegedly did. Anybody who appears to have had that much ‘work’ done – seriously, give him a wig and some fake boobs and he could appear on The Real Housewives of Macau – clearly puts a premium on public recognition.
Meanwhile, here’s how we think the first face to face meeting between Steve and Kazuo will play itself out…