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Wynn shaken by sexual misconduct allegations against founder

Casino mogul Steve Wynn is shown at a March 15, 2016 news conference in Medford, Mass. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
Casino mogul Steve Wynn is shown at a March 15, 2016 news conference in Medford, Mass. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
By Damian J. Troise Associated Press

NEW YORK – Wynn Resorts is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by founder Steve Wynn, detailed in a Wall Street Journal report that sent shares of the casino company tumbling 9 percent Friday.

The paper reported that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul and finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

One case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist. The detailed report relies on interviews with dozens of people whom corroborate a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct with female employees.

The company says it is committed to operating with the “highest ethical standards and maintaining a safe and respectful culture.” In a printed statement sent to the Associated Press, the company said the allegations are part of a smear campaign related to divorce proceedings from Wynn’s ex-wife.

Wynn denied the allegations personally.

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.

In a lengthy statement, Wynn 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.

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.

Wynn resorts said there has never been a complaint made about Wynn to the company’s independent hotline for anti-harassment.

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