Wynn Can Build Casino Despite Botching Investigation of CEO

BOSTON (CN) – Wynn Resorts can open its new casino in Massachusetts, despite sexual misconduct allegations against its former CEO, but must pay a $35 million fine, the state’s gambling regulators determined Tuesday.

The decision comes after three days of hearings in which members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission grilled company executives over allegations from a 200-page report about the company’s attempts to cover up sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn.

The commission determined that Wynn Resorts did not withhold information during the application process for its casino license but did fail to properly investigate allegations of Wynn’s sexual misconduct.

“The Commission did find numerous violations of controlling statutes and regulations largely pertaining to a pervasive failure to properly investigate in accordance with existing policies and procedures and to notify the Commission about certain allegations of wrongdoing,” the commission said in its decision. “The Commission is deeply troubled by the circumstances of these findings.”

Although Wynn Resorts will keep its casino license, it will have to pay the state a $35 million fine. Current company CEO Matthew Maddox, who replaced Steve Wynn, must personally pay $500,000.

“Specifically, the corporate culture of the founder-led organization led to disparate treatment of the CEO in ways that left the most vulnerable at grave risk. While the Company has made great strides in altering that system, this Commission remains concerned by the past failures and deficiencies,” the commissioners said.

State regulators grilled executives from Wynn Resorts earlier this month, including Elaine Wynn, ex-wife to Steve Wynn, and a majority shareholder in the company.

Elaine Wynn learned in 2009, while she was in the middle of divorcing the casino tycoon, that her husband had allegedly raped an employee. The woman confronted her then-husband as soon as she heard the claim, but he denied the charges.

Steve Wynn served as finance chair of the Republican National Committee throughout 2017, until resigning from the RNC and Wynn Resorts amid the allegations.

Wynn Resorts executives are still deliberating how they will respond to the commission’s decision.

“Wynn Resorts received a copy of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s decision on suitability late today,” said spokesperson Michael Weaver in an email. “We are in the process of reviewing that decision and considering the full range of our next steps.  We will not have further comment until we have thoroughly reviewed and considered the MGC’s decision.”

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