Wynn Resorts is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by its founder Steve Wynn, describing them as a smear campaign related to divorce proceedings from his ex-wife.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul in alleged incidents spanning several years. One case led to a $7.5 million US settlement with a manicurist. The detailed report describes accounts from several female employees.
The company says it is committed to operating with the “highest ethical standards and maintaining a safe and respectful culture.”
Wynn denied the allegations personally in a printed statement.
“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” he said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. dropped more than eight per cent in afternoon trading after the report was published.
Wynn, 75, was named finance chair of the Republican National Committee soon after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Wynn and Trump, each with interests in the hotel and casino industry, have a relationship that stretches back decades.
Wynn, considered a billionaire, contributed money to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 but disappointment in the Democratic president’s performance saw him switch allegiance to back Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.
Blames 1st wife
In a lengthy statement, Wynn and his company both attribute the allegations to a campaign lead by Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn. The couple divorced in 1986 after over two decades of matrimony, remarried five years later and were divorced again in 2010.
“The conduct of Elaine during the course of the pending lawsuits has been shocking and deeply disturbing to me personally and as the CEO of Wynn Resorts,” Wynn said.
In its reporting, the Wall Street Journal stated that none of the alleged victims reached out to the publication. Instead, the newspaper said it sought out more than 150 people who had worked for Wynn, many of whom did not want to go on record for fear of losing their jobs.
The newspaper reported that Wynn’s actions were well known enough that employees would sometimes enter fake appointments in the books to help other female workers avoid him. In some cases, female employees in the salon would hide in back rooms if they knew Wynn was on his way to the casino.
Wynn resorts said there has never been a complaint made about Wynn to the company’s independent hotline for anti-harassment.
Wynn, who is chairman and CEO of the company he founded, is a titan in Las Vegas and played a major role in the revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. It was Wynn’s company that built the Golden Nugget, The Bellagio and Mirage Resorts, where he helped magicians Siegfried and Roy rise to prominence by building a theatre to their specifications.
Wynn Resorts also operates properties in Boston and Macau, China.
The tycoon, one of the world’s foremost art collectors, has two adult children with his ex-wife and married his current wife, Andrea, in 2011.