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Defame game: Okada files new suit v. Wynn; Quincy Jones to testify at Francis trial

TAGs: joe francis, Kazuo Okada, quincy jones, Steve Wynn, Universal Entertainment, Wynn Resorts

steve-wynn-quincy-jones-defameApparently not content to wait a whole month until his next court date in Nevada, Universal Entertainment chairman Kazuo Okada has filed a fresh legal action against Wynn Resorts and its chairman Steve Wynn in Tokyo District Court. In Tuesday’s filing, Okada claims that his forced ouster from Wynn’s board of directors in February (a) caused Universal shares to fall, (b) sullied Universal’s reputation, causing it to lose out on lucrative business opportunities, and (c) made Okada personally look bad. The defamation suit seeks $140m in damages from Wynn. Okada and Steve Wynn were former BFFs who fell out after Okada decided he wanted to pursue a resort casino in the Philippines’ Entertainment City Manila project, a move that Wynn regarded as competition for Wynn’s Macau casino properties. After Okada filed suit to get a behind-the-scenes look at Wynn Resorts’ motives for making a $135m donation to the University of Macau, Wynn claimed Okada had improperly lavished perks on Phillippines’ gaming regulators, and so on, and so on…

In other Steve Wynn legal news, his defamation suit against Girls Gone Wild producer Joe Francis is set to get underway in California this week. In February, Wynn won a $7.5m judgment against Francis over a $2.5m casino marker Francis couldn’t/wouldn’t pay. During the run-up to the trial Francis claimed that Wynn had threatened to hit him over the head with a shovel and bury him in the Nevada desert if he didn’t make with the money, which prompted Wynn to sue for slander. A key witness stated to testify at the trial is Francis’ next-door neighbor, legendary music producer Quincy Jones, through whom Francis claims he first learned of Wynn’s fiendish plot. Francis told the New York Daily News: “Steve told Quincy he would hit me in the back of head and bury me in the desert. Quincy called me and told me this a couple of times. The word ‘gangster’ did come up a few times. Quincy Jones is not going to lie for Steve Wynn. I don’t think he’s happy about testifying for Steve Wynn.” Somehow, Joe, we don’t think Quincy’s all that happy about being dragged into this legal shit-show…

Steve’s lawyers aren’t the only ones to whom he’s cutting sizable checks. Politico says Wynn Resorts donated $475k in July to the Republican State Leadership Committee – a non-profit group dedicated to aiding the campaigns of GOP pols at the state level. While Steve has reportedly donated vast sums to the GOP’s 2012 federal election campaigns, does his decision to make it rain at the state level reflect a growing recognition that hopes for a federally regulated US online poker market are fading? Earlier this month, a report by Macquaries Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon suggested as much, saying that while his outfit acknowledged that legislative efforts by individual states “could increase the pressure on the federal government to act, we think the hurdles for a federal bill in Congress are too big to overcome at this time.” Say, you don’t suppose Sheldon Adelson threatened to hit the federal bill with a shovel and bury it in the Nevada desert, do you?

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