If Wednesday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is any indication, Steve Wynn’s days of being associated with the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino project are numbered. The commissioners and their staff repeatedly cited the Wall Street Journal article that alleges decades-long sexual misconduct and abuse by Wynn.
Steve Wynn (center) and former Gov. William Weld appear before the Mass. Gaming Commissioner in 2013
The WSJ article said dozens of Wynn company workers “told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn,” including exposing himself and pressuring employees for sex. The WSJ said that in 2005, Wynn forced a manicurist at his Las Vegas casino property into sex and later paid her a $7.5 million settlement. The commissioners focused in on that alleged payout. They also noted that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has also launched an investigation.
Meanwhile, the board at Wynn Resorts has formed a committee to do its own investigation. “We respect the process outlined by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and will cooperate fully with the investigation,” a Wynn Resorts spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. “Our construction is on schedule for a 2019 opening and continues to create more than 4,000 local union trade jobs.”
Rather troubling is the fact that Wynn and Wynn Resorts were found to be “suitable” to hold the gaming license back in 2013. Several commissioners wondered how that could happen. The $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino is well under construction in Everett. Frankly, the project itself is too big to fail.
The public hearing was organized and posted with remarkable speed—just hours after the WSJ posted its story online Friday. They each took time to address what they expect from their investigators—the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau—while questioning why they didn’t know about Wynn’s alleged sexual crimes.
Commission chair Steven Crosby pledged complete transparency in its investigation of the entire Wynn affair. “The public has a right to know what the hell happened,” Crosby declared. he also said the commission, in launching its investigation, should keep some other factors in mind. “Let’s remember that we have a casino opening in Springfield in seven months,” he said.
If anything can be gleaned by watching the commission’s meeting, it’s that they are not happy with Wynn, the $7.5 million payout, or the explosive charges alleged in the WSJ article. They instructed their staff to move quickly but fairly.