It hasn’t been the smoothest of times for Steve Wynn these days. Earlier this week, Wynn’s former wife Elaine filed legal papers in federal court in Las Vegas to invalidate a stockholders’ agreement that restricted her from selling her shares.
But the Wynn Resorts head honcho finally had some good news come his way after a federal judge rejected a motion filed by former BFF Kazuo Okada to make a U.S. anti-bribery law a key issue in the ongoing legal dispute between the two sides.
As quoted from VegasInc.com, Aruze USA spokesman Steve Getzug said after the the decision was meted down by U.S. Disctrict Judge Larry Hicks: “The judge’s ruling today addresses only the question of where the case should be heard, not the merits of the case.”
“While we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision, we’re quite confident that a jury, no matter where it is seated, will agree that Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn and his dutiful Board of Directors unlawfully stripped Aruze USA of its leadership stake in the company without any legitimate justification and to silence a vocal critic,” he added.
The legal fight between Wynn and Okada has had more twists and turns than an episode of Days of Our Lives, all of it stemming from Wynn Resort’s actions to force Okada to revoke his $2.7 billion in shares after the latter was alleged to have been involved in bribing Pagcor head Cristino Naguiat Jr. with under-the-table benefits. Okada and Naguiat have denied those allegations.
From there, the situation turned even uglier as Okada filed his own lawsuit in US federal court, explaining that Wynn Resorts’ accusations of violating the federal anti-bribery law should be handled by the federal court. In response, Wynn Resorts countered by fighting to prevent the case to be moved to federal court. To the latter’s collective sigh of relief, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks sided with them, sending the case back to the state court.
Hick’s ruling paves the way for two lawsuits between Wynn and Okada that will be handled by Judge Elizabeth Gonzales in Clark County District Court, one involving Wynn suing Okada – Elane Wynn’s involved in that one too – and the other one involving Okada seeking to see records that could potentially contain information regarding benefits given by Wynn Resorts to gaming regulators in Macau, an accusation that Wynn has irrevocably denied.
Despite the ridiculously messy nature of these proceedings, Wynn Resorts’ “little victory” should boost their spirits up a little. The battle is far from finished and there will probably be more accusations thrown by both parties against the other, but for today, score this round to Steve Wynn against Kazuo Okada, 10-9.