Massachusetts Investigates Wynn Resorts

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been involved in an investigation of former online casino and casino resort magnate Steve Wynn for most of 2018. The Commission, which must decide whether Wynn Resorts will be allowed to continue with their plans to build and operate a casino in Massachusetts, wants to determine what Wynn Resorts executives knew of sexual misconduct allegations against former CEO Steve Wynn when the company obtained a Massachusetts casino license.

The final report should be ready by early December. Executive Director Edward Bedrosian told the commission “Once the report is complete, there are a few more procedural steps before an actual hearing and the report will be made public. First, the commissioners individually will be provided a copy of the report along with the exhibits. We anticipate that will consist of hundreds of pages of documents.”

After the report is released  it will be made available to representatives of Wynn Resorts along with the supporting documents. Representatives of Wynn will then be invited to prepare their own report for the commission, which will be delivered as part of the public adjudicatory hearing process.

Bedrosian explained the process. “It would be at the beginning of the actual hearing the report, with any redactions, will be made public. With all that in mind, I anticipate and hope that we can have any pre-hearing motions, again if any, heard some time in November with the actual hearing happening sometime the first two weeks of December.”

Allegations

The commission has been looking into sexual misconduct allegations against the former Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn and how Wynn Resorts handled those allegations.  The allegations were publicized in a Wall Street Journal story that detailed a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by the company’s founder.

Former employees claimed that Wynn had pressured them to perform sex acts. After the story was published the Massachusetts Gaming Commission began their inquiry in order to determine whether Wynn Resorts would be allowed to continue with their development plans in the state.

Karen Wells, head of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s investigations bureau, was able to confirm the report that Steve Wynn had paid $7.5 million to a manicurist to resolve a sexual harassment allegation. She also was able to ascertain that the payment was not previously disclosed during the licensing process.

Stephen Crosby, former Gaming Commission chairman who resigned last month amid accusations of bias in the Wynn matter said, “A central question is, what did the board of directors and staff know and when did they know it, about the settlement and the associated allegations. That’s a critical point for us and the public of Massachusetts to know ASAP.”

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn, the figure at the center of the scandal, is no longer associated with Wynn Resorts. Wynn resigned from the company he founded. He divested all of his holdings in the company. He no longer appears on the list of people who must be deemed individually suitable by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in order for Wynn Resorts to continue to hold its casino license.

Bedrosian has already told the Gaming Commission that investigators were “entering their final stage of their investigation.”He said that investigators were “following up on a few outstanding matters” in Las Vegas. The commissioners expected to get their copies of the report in October, after which they planned to hold hearings. Hearings will involve testimony from the Investigations, Enforcement Bureau staff and representatives for Wynn Resorts.

General Counsel Catherine Blue explained the next step, saying that the commissioners will have an opportunity to ask questions of any participant. Attorneys for Wynn will also be able to ask questions. After hearing the testimony, which will be given under oath, the commissioners will deliberate.

If the Commission rules that Wynn casino isn’t suitable to continue its Encore Boston Harbor resort casino project and removes its license, it’s unclear what would happen to the approximately $2.4 billion that the company has already invested in the project. When asked, Bedrosian has repeatedly declined to comment.

Encore Boston Harbor has now changed its name from the original Wynn Boston Harbor. The casino is due to open later this year.

Encore Boston

Encore Boston Harbor is a luxury casino resort which is presently being built in Everett Massachusetts. Wynn Resorts is presently in charge of the project but its ownership is in doubt after questions about Wynn officials’ handling of allegations of their CEO’s sexual harassment behavior arose.

The casino is being built in Boston Harbor. It is located about 5 miles from Logan International Airport and from Boston’s financial district.

Wynn Resorts describes Encore as the “largest private single-phase construction project in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is set to include a a casino, spa, eateries, retail outlets, and meeting and convention space. There will also be public amenities such as paths for bikers and pedestrians, a public park, waterfront shops and restaurants, viewing decks, a boat dock,floral displays and a performance hall.

Wynn Resorts described the project as "the largest private single-phase construction project in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” The project is expected to create 4,000 union trade jobs. To achieve the deal to build the casino the company entered into a Surrounding Community Agreement that obligates Wynn to prioritize the local community in its decisions regarding the area’s development.

One of Wynn’s plans for the Encore property includes a year-round water transportation system that’s designed to take and guests guests to various areas across Boston Harbor. The casino is also planning to operate a water taxi service for Boston Harbor travel. There will be a public boat dock for private boats.

A ferry will connect the Harbor resort to Long Wharf and the South Boston World Trade Center. Trails and a harborwalk will connect pedestrians with nearby Gateway Center Park where guests will be treated to a bicycle and pedestrian bridge that will stretch across the Mystic River.

Boston transportation’s Orange Line  will be subsidized by Wynn Resorts. The line is set to  cross over the river from Medford to Sommerville.

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