At the end of January, Wynn Resorts agreed to settle with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) over allegations that the company was complicit in the sexual misconduct of its founder and former CEO, Steve Wynn. The board had argued that the company knew of the activity, but didn’t react to prevent or punish it and, as such, was guilty of unlawful activities.
While not coming forward and admitting guilt, the company agreed to pay a fine and acknowledged that certain individuals within the organization had been let go for their involvement. Publicly acknowledging that it fired employees related to the incidents has provided fuel to the already-stoked fire of a shareholder lawsuit brought against the casino giant.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, a group of shareholders seeking unspecified damages due to losses incurred from Wynn Resorts’ stock plummet, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the company essentially admitted it was guilty. Lawyer William Kemp added, “Our lawsuit has four basic elements, and this (NGCB) complaint admits all four of them. It was a total surrender by the company. I don’t know how they think they are going to try our case after they admitted everything.”
The NGCB has yet to determine what level of fine the casino operator will ultimately have to pay. However, a number of senior officers with the company were identified as having been aware of the alleged sexual misconduct, yet never responded to them and Wynn has confirmed that they have been relieved due to their actions related to the allegations.
The news of the sexual misconduct allegations first hit the newsstands in January of last year when the Wall Street Journal published a damning piece. Just a day prior, Wynn’s stock was trading at $180, but began to drop following the publication and continued to slide for all of 2018. By the end of the year, it was down 44% to $100.
Steve Wynn, who resigned shortly after the news broke, made a fortune last year. He sold his entire stake in the company in March when the price was around $175 and pocketed a nice purse of $2.1 billion.