The Nevada Gaming Control Board is preparing for a disciplinary hearing before the Nevada Gaming Commission against Steve Wynn, former CEO of Wynn Resorts, on sexual harassment charges. The development was confirmed by the Board on Tuesday, although a date for the hearing has yet to be set.
Wynn, who now resides in Florida, has said that since he is no longer licensed by Nevada gaming regulators, and has divested all financial connections with the casino and hospitality giant, he believes that he is no longer subject to its discipline, reports Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“At this point, the board is preparing to recommence the action against Mr. Wynn,” Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson said in a Tuesday email, retrieved by the above-mentioned source. “The board maintains the Nevada Gaming Commission has full authority to decide the proposed regulatory complaint against Mr. Wynn.”
The action against Wynn Resorts’ former CEO is separate from a concluded matter against the company, in which the firm was fined $20 million in connection with a sexual harassment scandal that occurred in early 2018, added Gibson.
In 2019, the Control Board issued a five-count complaint accusing Wynn of violating state gaming regulations on the operation of gaming establishments by failing to “exercise discretion and sound judgment” to prevent incidents that might reflect on the reputation of the state.
The complaint stemmed from accusations that Wynn sexually harassed several female employees at the resort giant for years. Wynn, who has never been tried or convicted of harassment, has denied the allegations since they were first made public.
In late 2019, Wynn’s attorneys argued before the Gaming Commission that it no longer had jurisdiction over him because he resigned from the company in 2018, divesting his holdings shortly after. At a December hearing, the sexual harassment complaint was never heard because Donald Campbell, attorney for Wynn, brought up the jurisdictional dispute.
Campbell said at the time he would take the matter to Clark County District Court, recalls Review-Journal, adding he wouldn’t enter settlement talks about the charges until he was satisfied that the jurisdictional issue was adjudicated. The case went to Clark County District Court, where Judge Adriana Escobar ruled in favor of Wynn in 2020.
The Gaming Control Board then appealed the case to the Nevada Supreme Court, which determined Wynn could not appeal a commission decision until after the matter was adjudicated in a hearing. The court found that Wynn’s case could not move forward without a commission action occurring: once the commission acts, Wynn could appeal any decision to District Court.
The District Court has now remanded the action back to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission for further proceedings. The Board’s latest decision follows a lawsuit filed last week by a Wynn Resorts massage therapist alleging that the company continues to create a hostile work environment against her, years after Steve Wynn allegedly forced her to act as an “on-call sexual servant,” reports Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A Wynn Resorts spokesman quoted by Review-Journal said that the company has taken several actions in response to the 2018 incidents. The company has reconstituted its board of directors, who in turn worked with a refreshed executive team to establish new human resources policies and training, and a new corporate governance program, the statement reads.
As for what’s next, Control Board Chairman Gibson said that settlement “is always a possibility” in disciplinary matters, “but one that appears less likely in the present matter each day.” He further confirmed to the cited source that the board “is currently preparing for a full hearing before the NGC.”