By Brendan Clogston
Steve Wynn has stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts amid reports that the casino mogul had sexually harassed employees at the company for decades. Wynn’s resignation takes off some of the mounting pressure on the half-constructed $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor development in Everett, though Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) regulators will continue their investigation into the company’s suitability for the sole Eastern Massachusetts gaming license.
The company’s board of directors tapped Wynn Resorts President Matt Maddox to replace Wynn as CEO. Boone Wayson will serve as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Wynn denies the allegations, saying in a statement that his decision to resign was reflective of the fact that the fallout from the allegation had made it impossible for him “to be effective in my current roles.”
“In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,” said Wynn. “As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles. Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on January 26 that “dozens of people The Wall Street Journal interviewed who have worked at Mr. Wynn’s casinos told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn,” and claimed that Wynn had “sexualized his workplace and pressured workers to perform sex acts” using his power and influence as their boss and a major figure in the gaming industry. Among the incidents detailed in the report was a case where Wynn allegedly forced a manicurist to have sex. Wynn paid $7.5 million to settle the case out of court, a fact that MGC was not made aware of during its initial background check on Wynn in 2013.
The fallout from the report was swift, as Wynn was forced to resign as the finance chair of the Republican National Committee, the company’s stock plummeted, and a number of universities removed his name from campus buildings and revoked honorary degrees.
MGC will continue its investigation into the affair regardless of Wynn’s resignation. According to MGC investigators, the inquiry will look into who knew what about the alleged incidents and what was done to address them within the company. “The Commission and MGC staff will now need to assess the overall impact and implications of this significant development,” said a commission spokesperson in a statement.
Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett is scheduled to open on June 24, 2019.