Casino mogul Steve Wynn accused of sexual misconduct

Steve Wynn accused

LAS VEGAS -- Wynn Resorts (WYNN) is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by its founder Steve Wynn, describing it as a smear campaign related to divorce proceedings from his ex-wife.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul. One case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist. The detailed report describes accounts from several female employees.

The paper, citing people familiar with the matter, said Wynn paid a manicurist a $7.5 million settlement after a 2005 incident in which he allegedly forced her to have sex with him. The settlement came after her manager filed a complaint to the human resources department at Wynn's flagship casino, Wynn Las Vegas.

The manicurist's allegation is one of many, according to the Journal, which reports that dozens of people who worked at Wynn's casinos accuse him of sexual misconduct. The allegation was alluded to in a lawsuit filed by his former wife, Elaine Wynn, who wants the restrictions lifted on her ability to sell her stock in Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Wynn denies the allegations. In a lengthy statement, the executive and his company both attribute the allegations to a campaign lead by Wynn's ex-wife, Elaine Wynn.

"The conduct of Elaine during the course of the pending lawsuits has been shocking and deeply disturbing to me personally and as the CEO of Wynn Resorts," Wynn said.

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An attorney for Elaine Wynn told the Journal that she did not instigate the allegations.  

Wynn Resorts also said no one has ever complained about its leader to the company's independent anti-harassment hotline. 

Shares of Wynn Resorts fell $17.16, or 8.5 percent, to $182.90 in afternoon trading. 

Wynn, who is chairman and CEO of the company he founded, is a titan in Las Vegas and played a major role in the revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s. It was Wynn's company that built the Golden Nugget, The Bellagio and Mirage Resorts in the heart of the town.

He is also a prolific fundraiser for Republican causes. Wynn is close to President Donald Trump, advising Mr. Trump's campaign for the presidency and becoming the RNC's finance chairman after the 2016 election. The RNC did not immediately reply to CBS News' request for comment.  

In its reporting, The Wall Street Journal stated that none of the alleged victims reached out to the publication. Instead, the newspaper said it sought out more than 150 people who had worked for Wynn, many of whom did not want to go on record for fear of losing their jobs.

The newspaper reported that Wynn's actions were well known enough that employees would sometimes enter fake appointments in the books to help other female workers avoid him. In some cases, female employees in the salon would hide in back rooms if they knew Wynn was on his way to the casino.

In the early 1990s, a former executive at a casino once run by Wynn, Dennis Gomes, said in a deposition that he "routinely received complaints from various department heads regarding Wynn's chronic sexual harassment of female employees." Gomes also accused Wynn of a "disgraceful pattern of personal and professional conduct" that included asking Gomes for the home phone numbers of cocktail waitresses.

"I remember him saying, 'I'm not [Wynn's] pimp,'" Gomes' widow told the Journal. 

The suit, which involved Gomes' decision to go work for one of Mr. Trump's casinos, was dropped in 1994. Wynn denied the allegations in a Nevada court.