Steve Wynn’s Sexual Misconduct Settlement Was Hidden from Mass. Investigators

When the casino mogul applied for a license to open a gaming property in 2013, a $7.5 million payment was kept secret.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn during a news conference in Medford, Mass., Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

Photo via AP/ Charles Krupa

The $7.5 million Steve Wynn paid to a manicurist after she accused him of sexual assault was not disclosed to Massachusetts investigators when the casino mogul applied for a license to operate a gaming property in the Bay State in 2013, according to the state’s investigative bureau.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission held an open meeting to discuss how it will proceed following allegations published in the Wall Street Journal that Wynn, who plans to open casino in Everett in June 2019, sexually abused employees for decades. The Commission is looking into whether the Las Vegas mogul violated the state suitability standard requiring casino licensees to maintain “integrity, honesty, good character, and reputation.” If someone exhibits a pattern of misconduct—even without a formal conviction—then they can be found to fall below the standard.

Karen Wells, the director of the Commission’s investigations and enforcement unit, explained at Wednesday’s meeting that though the bureau conducted a thorough review of Wynn Resorts prior to granting the company a gaming license, the $7.5 million settlement did not come out of a formal lawsuit and no paper trail could have possibly led state investigators to the information. The payment was deliberately conducted in private, though the company has since confirmed its existence.

The state’s review will also examine who within the Wynn organization knew about the alleged misconduct, when they found out, and how they moved forward with the information. Additionally, Wells said the bureau is watching the company’s response to the accusations and if this situation could impact its financial stability. Wells declined to say how long the entire process would take, though she recognized “the urgency of the matter.”

Several members of the commission noted that investigators are tasked with walking the fine line between speed and accuracy. They warned against jumping to conclusions or expediting the process in any way, despite the gravity of the allegations against Wynn.

“I urge that we collectively, the bureau specifically, be scrupulously fair but equally scrupulously diligent,” Commissioner Lloyd Macdonald said. “Speed, thoroughness, and objectivity are key.”

On Tuesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board announced it, too, would launch an investigation into the allegations against Wynn. The casino mogul has also resigned from his position as finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

To close the meeting, Steve Crosby, the chairman of the Commission, emphasized the need for the state investigation to be as transparent and fair as possible.

“The people in Massachusetts have a right to know what the hell happened here, and no punches pulled—good, bad, or indifferent,” Crosby said.