When the nascent state gaming commission was considering Steve Wynn's company's "suitability" to run the Everett casino it's now building, neither Wynn nor his company disclosed the large settlement, the commission's investigations head said today.
At a meeting of the commission called to discuss Wynn, Karen Wells, director of the commission's investigations and enforcement bureau, said she has confirmed with the Wynn company's attorney that Wynn in fact made the private payment. She said there was no record of the settlement in court records, because no court action was ever brought related to it.
When news broke of the allegations in the Wall Street Journal last week, Wynn had denied all the allegations and blamed his ex-wife for spreading them.
Wells, however, said today that "what we have discovered is that was, in fact, a private agreement; there were steps taken to keep it private; there were no court records at the time for investigators to discover; and that it was not disclosed by any qualifier. Now, whether or not that was appropriate will be looked at as part of this investigation."
Wells and Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby both said regulators will conduct what Wells called "an intense review" into what Crosby called "appalling accusations." The commission could, if it determines Wynn Resorts is no longer "suitable" - whether morally, legally or financially - to run the casino, it could strip its license.
Wells emphasized that even if Wynn himself proves to have been a sexual molester, the ultimate decision is on whether Wynn Resorts, a publicly held corporation, is "suitable." She said one of the avenues of her investigation will be to see how the corporation and its board handles the accusations.
Wells added she will be coordinating her investigation with similar probes announced by gaming regulators in Las Vegas and Macao.
Crosby said that while the investigation involves allegations of sexual assault, he wants as much information found during it to be made public as possible. "The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here," he said.