In a confusing twist, casino tycoon Steve Wynn is now suing his former company Wynn hotels, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the commission’s chief investigator.
Wynn is currently being investigated by the Gaming Commission over allegations of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit, filed earlier late on Wednesday in Las Vegas and publicly disclosed at a Gaming Commission hearing last Thursday, claims Wynn Resorts has given documents that were protected by attorney-client privilege to Gaming Commission investigators. Furthermore, the information was only in the possession of Wynn Resorts because it was part of a joint defense regarding previous litigation.
The executive director of the Gaming Commission, Edward Bedrosian, told the commission about the lawsuit on Thursday. The commission has sought counsel to review the suit and represent it in Nevada.
Bedrosian said in a statement: “Steve Wynn filed a lawsuit in Nevada against the director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, the commission and Wynn Resorts. This new lawsuit, among other things, seeks to prevent the release of the investigation and enforcement bureau’s investigatory report.
“We were not surprised by this development, in fact, we had already retained local counsel in Nevada to help us litigate these issues as quickly as possible so we don’t delay finishing the report and then having an appropriate adjudicatory hearing.”
Commissioners will not receive a copy of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau’s report on Wynn and Wynn Resorts until the lawsuit has been resolved. “We need to resolve these issues to make sure the report that is given the commission is the report you will use in the adjudicatory hearing,” Bedrosian said.
Last month, Bedrosian said the investigation, which started in early 2018, was almost complete and that the findings were due to be made public sometime in early December. The commission has been looking into allegations of sexual misconduct made against the former Wynn Resorts president and CEO, as well as Wynn Resort’s handling of said allegations.
An article published in the Wall Street Journal in January alleged a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Wynn.
Karen Wells, head of the Gaming Commission’s investigations bureau, told the commission earlier this year that Wynn had paid a private $7.5m settlement to a manicurist to resolve a sexual harassment allegation. That payment had not been disclosed during the original casino licensing process.
Materials attached to the lawsuit detail repeated communications between lawyers for Wynn and officials at the Gaming Commission and Wynn Resorts surrounding the issue of privileged communications.
In the most recent set of communications, it was made known that the attorney representing Wynn had asked to read the report before the public release to inspect if any privileged materials or those deemed to be false or defamatory were used. His attorneys also asked to participate in the Gaming Commission’s public hearing on the report.
However, an attorney representing the Gaming Commission then dismissed his demand in which it was said in the letter that he was not convinced that a joint defense agreement applies to documents in the agency’s possession.
It was this letter that is believed to have given rise to the new lawsuit.