Wynn Resorts spent Friday morning trying to convince the state gaming commission it has sufficiently distanced itself from founder Steve Wynn and changing the name of the Everett casino to “Encore Boston Harbor.” But Steve Wynn himself isn’t going quietly. He is suing a former employee for defamation, saying the employee smeared Wynn by spreading false accusations of sexual misconduct in the media.
As Wynn Resorts was feting Everett elected officials and the media at a “topping off” party on the 27th floor of the massive resort casino project, Steve Wynn filed suit against Jorgen Nielsen, a former artistic director of the Wynn Las Vegas salon. Nielsen was quoted by name in two Wall Street Journal articles that led to Steve Wynn’s resignation as company CEO and board chairman, his selling of his shares in the company and banishment from company property in Las Vegas.
One major issue in Steve Wynn’s decline was the revelation of a $7.5 million settlement between the company founder and a manicurist over sexual misconduct allegations. It’s that settlement—and whether the members of the board knew about it—that is currently imperiling the casino license held by Wynn Resorts.
While the company worked Friday to convince the gaming commission that Steve Wynn should no longer be a “qualifier” on the license, whether it is still deemed “suitable” to hold the license is still in question. The commission has said its investigation should be concluded by the summer.
In Steve Wynn’s new lawsuit against Nielson, he alleges Nielson was responsible for “false and defamatory” statements included in the WJS articles and were motivated by an effort to create “workplace issues” for Steve Wynn as he was “embroiled in a highly contentious and public litigation with his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn.” The lawsuit describes Nielsen as Elaine Wynn’s longtime personal hairstylist.