Casino kingpin Steve Wynn is facing new allegations of sexual harassment that were originally killed by a major Nevada newspaper.
On Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the newspaper’s publisher had spiked a 1998 investigation into allegations that Steve Wynn had engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment against Wynn Resorts’ female employees.
LVRJ reporter Carri Geer interviewed two cocktail servers at the then Wynn-owned Mirage casino, one of whom claimed the casino had sent waitresses to high-roller villas in order to “accommodate customers sexually.” One server claimed she received payments of between $1k and $5k from each customer for these sexual acts.
The claims were made in a federal lawsuit filed in 1997 by 11 Mirage waitresses who were protesting the casino’s policy that forbid the women from gaining more than six pounds of weight after they were hired.
Earlene Wiggins, one of the plaintiffs in the federal suit, claimed that she’d had sex with Steve Wynn on multiple occasions in the 1980s because she “was afraid for my job.” Wiggins claimed that a supervisor told her to do what Wynn asked if she wanted to remain a Mirage employee.
After Geer filed a draft of her article, LVRJ publisher Sherman Frederick reportedly insisted the women making the allegations take a polygraph test. Frederick, who stepped down as publisher in 2010, told the LVRJ that he doesn’t “remember paying for any polygraph tests.”
But Geer, who currently serves as the LVRJ’s metro editor, claims to have saved both the polygraph test results and the $600 bill for those tests. Following the tests, Geer was ordered to delete the article but she saved a draft because she “always wanted to tell these women’s stories.”
The fact that the LVRJ chose to dig up its own spiked reporting is notable, given the paper’s ownership. In 2015, the LVRJ was sold to Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, a friend of Wynn’s and with whom Adelson shares a conservative political outlook.
Steve Wynn has denied the sexual allegations, which were brought to light in a Wall Street Journal report last month. But Wynn was forced to resign as finance chair of the Republican National Committee, and gaming regulators in Nevada, Macau and Massachusetts have opened probes into the allegations.
On Friday, it was revealed that the $7.5m private settlement Wynn reached with a female Wynn Las Vegas staffer in 2005 reportedly also involved a paternity claim. Wynn Resorts stock price has fallen over 15% since the initial WSJ report, but the stock is up marginally in mid-day trading on Monday.