An exodus among board directors is happening at Wynn Resorts as lawsuits against its founder and his business partners over alleged sexual misconducts continue to pile up.
On Monday, board member Ray Irani stepped down from his position—effectively immediately, Wynn Resorts announced in a filing. Another board member, Alvin Shoemaker, also advised the board of his plans to step down when his current term ends in 2019.
The announcement came several hours after the state of Oregon revealed that it’s suing Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts, along with its board of directors, for failing “to protect shareholders, the company, and its employees when it failed to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.”
Oregon, which is acting on behalf of its state pension fund, joins the New York State Common Retirement Fund and at least four other shareholder groups who have gone after Wynn Resorts, which they claimed breached its fiduciary duties by ignoring the alleged decades-long sexual abuse and harassment incidents of its employees by the casino mogul.
The Oregon pension system holds 8,506 Wynn Resorts shares worth $1.3 million, and state officials said the investment is suffering because of the lawsuits.
“The story of Steve Wynn is a cliche: a powerful man preying on the powerless,” the lawsuit stated, according to reports. “But the Directors of Wynn Resorts were not powerless. They were the only people with the knowledge and ability—and duty to the company—to investigate and stop Steve Wynn’s conduct.”
Just this week, another woman who claimed to be Wynn’s manicurist accused the beleaguered casino king of sexually harassing her. The manicurist joined the growing list of women, including two massage therapists employed at the Wynn Resorts, who have filed lawsuits against the casino mogul and the company.
Thank you for your service
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox, thanked Irani and Shoemaker “for their service to the company” during the mid-quarter earnings update on Wednesday.
The 83-year-old Irani, formerly the executive chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, was a member of Wynn Resorts’ committee on corporate governance and also a “life trustee” of the University of Southern California.
Shoemaker has been a board member of Wynn Resorts since December 2002 and serves in the compensation and audit committees. The 79-year-old is also a member of the Huntsman Corporation board of directors.
Maddox, who was not a member of the Wynn board, did not discuss the casino company’s legal troubles, although he did mention how the Wynn board has been “extremely active over the past month” with a goal to “expand and refresh its ranks to bring new prospects to the boardroom.”
The CEO also sought to reassure investors that the company is in good shape, declaring “strong” results in its Macau and Las Vegas operations during the first two months of 2018. Maddox noted that Wynn Resorts planned to raise its dividend for shareholders in the first quarter of the year.