The billionaire casino owner and art collector Steve Wynn has been accused of pressuring employees in his Las Vegas casinos to perform sex acts in a decades-long pattern of misconduct, the Wall Street Journal reports. Among them is a manicurist who worked at a casino salon and said that Wynn demanded she remove her clothes and forced her to have sex with him during a private appointment in his office. He later paid her $7.5m in a settlement, according to the Journal, which reached out to 150 current and former employees.
“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” Wynn says in a statement, adding: “The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.” The manicurist’s allegations and the settlement payment are mentioned in a lawsuit brought by Elaine Wynn, who is seeking control of her stock in the Wynn Resorts company. After the news of the accusations broke, shares in Wynn Resorts Ltd dropped by 10%.
Wynn is an influential figure in the gambling world, having built the Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore casinos in Las Vegas, two eponymous resorts in Macau, China, and another near Boston under construction. He has recently become more involved in politics, and was appointed finance chairman for the Republican National Convention soon after President Donald Trump took office; he resigned from the post on Saturday.
He is also known for spending millions on art that is often displayed in his businesses, including Picasso’s Le Rêve (The Dream) (1932), a portrait of the artist’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, which Wynn briefly named a luxury hotel casino in Las Vegas after. He accidentally put a hole through the painting with his elbow in 2006, and eventually sold the work to Steve Cohen. More recently, he paid $28m at Sotheby’s New York in 2014 for Jeff Koons’s shiny Popeye sculpture, which is meant to be the centerpiece work in the lobby of his new venture in Massachusetts, and he is believed to have been the consigner of Willem de Kooning’s Untitled II (1980), which sold for $13.1m at Phillips last May.