Steve Wynn Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Leaves RNC

Steve Wynn Misconduct - Steve Wynn RNC

In the wake of the allegations, US senators are calling for Steve Wynn’s donations to be returned.

Steve Wynn, founder and CEO of the Las Vegas casino company, Wynn Resorts, has been accused by dozens of former salon workers of sexual misconduct. Wynn denied the charge categorically in a press release, calling the allegations “preposterous”.

Amidst the hail of accusations, the casino mogul announced his resignation Saturday as the Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee following the allegations.

The 76-year old has been a flamboyant casino executive since the late-1960s, when he took over Golden Nugget Las Vegas in a land deal involving Howard Hughes and Caesars Palace. Steve Wynn was a key factor in the transformation of Las Vegas in the 1980s and 1990s from a reputed mob-run casino row to the vast corporate-run resort destination it is today.

In the 21st century, Steve Wynn spread his casino empire all the way to Macau, divorced the wife who helped him found company, and became a big donor for the Republic Party. Along the way, he sparred with longtime rivals like Sheldon Adelson and Donald Trump, then later became friends with the same men he competed against.

Dozens of Allegations against Steve Wynn

Several women who worked closely with Wynn have come forward to report the many inappropriate encounters while working for him. In an article with over 150 sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that for decades, Wynn would use his power to pressure and force his manicurists and massage therapists into sexual favors.

The Wall Street Journal report stated, “Former employees said their awareness of Wynn’s power in Las Vegas, combined with the knowledge that the jobs they held were among the best-paying available there, added up to a feeling of dependence and intimidation when Wynn made requests of them.”

“Some said that feeling was heightened at times by the presence in a confined office space of one or more of his German shepherds, trained to respond to commands in German.”

Steve Wynn Denies Accusations

Steve Wynn was bold in his denials, saying, “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous. We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.”

Wynn Resorts responded to the allegations stating that the company has an anti-harassment system set in place, requiring all workers to undergo anti-harassment training. The company has a hotline “that any employee can use anonymously, without fear of retaliation.”

According to Wynn Resorts International, “Since the inception of the company, not one complaint was made to that hotline regarding Mr. Wynn.”

Blames a Nasty Divorce

Wynn said he believes the accusations are “the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised settlement.”

Elaine Wynn once sat on the Wynn Resorts board of directors, but was removed from the position a couple of years ago at the instigation of Steve Wynn. She holds an estimated $900 million in Wynn Resorts stock, but cannot liquidate those assets without the board’s permission. Elaine Wynn is suing to gain access to those shares.

Wynn mentioned while discussing his ex-wife, “Elaine has explicitly threatened to slander and destroy me, and I am surprised that the media in allowing itself to be used to advance this agenda.”

Allegations Made by Salon Workers

The Journal reported that all of the reports came through during interviews with 150 current and former Wynn employees. The Journal said that “none reached out to the Journal on their own.” The paper reported that the allegations discuss “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Wynn” with his salon workers.

Though this is not the first time his misconduct has made it to court. In 2005, a married manicurist claimed in a court proceeding that Wynn “forced her to have sex”. The allegation came not long after he opened Wynn Las Vegas casino, which in many ways was the culmination of Steve Wynn’s development career in Las Vegas. Earlier in his career, Steve Wynn built Bellagio, Treasure Island, and The Mirage.

Lawsuit Referenced the Charges

Elaine Wynn mentioned the incident “in broad terms” in the lawsuit against her husband. Court documents show her lawyers stating, “Mr. Wynn later paid the manicurist a $7.5 million settlement.”

A former Wynn massage therapist discussed her time working for Wynn, saying that her boss demanded she masturbate him during their hour-long sessions. She said, at the end of these sessions, he would pay her $1,000 in cash, which she mentioned was “the same amount as before the sexual activity began.”

According to other women who worked for Wynn, he would allegedly wear extremely small shorts exposing himself during his pedicures while subjecting the women to lewd and suggestive discussions.

Other reports state that female employees would create fake appointments in order to get out of seeing him. Still others would grab a friend or enlist someone else to play as their assistants, in order to avoid the chance of being alone with him. The article said that some of the women would even go as far as to hide in bathrooms or closets, if they knew of his appointment at the salon.

Wynn Boston Harbor

After the release of the Wall Street Journal’s article, Wynn Resorts shares which dropped nearly 10%. Steve Wynn’s big project in Massachusetts also could face repercussions. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now reviewing the status of the $2.4 billion Boston Harbor Casino, which is set to open in 2019.

The MGC said, “The Commission is now aware of and is taking very seriously the troubling allegations detailed in the Wall Street Journal article. The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process. Consequently, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will conduct a regulatory review of this matter to determine the appropriate next steps.”

The Wynn Resorts Board of Directors is also conducting a review. They met on Friday and formed a special committee of the board “comprised solely of independent directors” to deeply investigate the allegations that have been brought out in the Wall Street Journal article.

Wynn Resorts announced, “The Board is deeply committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all of the Company’s employees and to operating with the highest ethical standards.”

Steve Wynn Leaves the RNC

While one might expect Wynn Resort’s board will exonerate their boss, Steve Wynn’s brief foray into party politics seems to have ended. For decades, Steve Wynn donated both to Democrats and Republicans. Reports suggest that Steve Wynn’s politics took a sharp turn to the right during the Obama Administration, because he felt regulations were hurting the American business community.

Steve Wynn became a big donor to the GOP in the 2016 presidential election. The RNC was one of the recipients of donations from Wynn according to the Federal Election Commission records. The other recipients consist of GOP politicians like Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott and new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. But according to records, Wynn hedged his political bets by donating to several presidential campaigns such as Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Wynn was noncommittal during the presidential election, saying he was friends with Trump and Clinton. Still, his many donations to (mainly) GOP candidates was noticed, and Steve Wynn seemed to embrace Republican politics after the election. He was chosen as a member of the Donald J. Trump Inauguration Committee, then in early 2017 was made the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman.

RNC Statement on Steve Wynn

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced Saturday: “Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair.”

Wynn confirmed his resignation in a statement saying, “The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction.”