The ongoing legal fight between Wynn Resorts honcho Steve Wynn and Wynn’s former number one shareholder, Universal Entertainment chairman Kazuo Okada, is producing consequences beyond what Steve likely envisioned when he announced a plan to forcibly redeem Okada’s 19.66% stake in Wynn at a 30% discount in February. On Tuesday, Wynn’s former wife Elaine filed legal papers in federal court in Las Vegas aimed at invalidating a stockholders’ agreement that restricts her from selling her shares. Elaine received a 9.7% stake in the company worth approximately $1b and a seat on Wynn’s board of directors following her January 2010 split from Steve after 41 years of marriage. Steve holds roughly the same amount of Wynn shares, in addition to a sizable chip on his shoulder. (In hindsight, the kiss is the photo at right looks less like a public display of affection and more like Al Pacino kissing Jon Cazale in Godfather II: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.”
The stockholder lockup agreement in question involves the significant Wynn holdings of Elaine, Steve and Okada, but Elaine’s filing argues that Steve’s ‘night of the long knives’ attack against Okada means the restrictions no longer serve “a legitimate corporate purpose but rather are intended to maintain the controlling position” of Steve and Okada. Elaine claims she only agreed to give her ex the ability to restrict the market for her stock in order to support the then rosy relationship between Steve and Okada. With the bloom now off that rose, Elaine wants the freedom to “provide significant assistance to various important causes she has supported over the years” and to “implement estate planning measures that will protect the value of her investment for her children.”
In response, Steve issued a statement calling his ex-wife’s claim a “legally baseless attempt to drag into federal court a domestic relations matter that was previously settled in family court here in Las Vegas.” Vegas Inc. reported insiders’ claims that Elaine’s suit came in response to a sealed complaint filed against her recently in Clark County Family Court by Steve in relation to their divorce settlement. Tune in tomorrow when Steve’s attorneys at the law firm of That’s Mine, This Is Yours announce his intention to sue Elaine for emotional distress for making him sleep on the wet spot for four decades.