Lawyers will present evidence they say shows disgraced casino mogul Steve Wynn's pattern of reckless behavior and mismanagement of Wynn Resorts during a hearing scheduled to begin Tuesday in state court in Las Vegas. It's the latest move in a yearslong case involving him, his ex-wife and the company they founded.
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The hearing could feature previous deposition testimony as well as live witnesses, including Elaine Wynn, who has accused her ex-husband, the company's general counsel and members of its board of directors of getting her off the board in 2015 because of her inquiries into company activities. Her contract-related claims are what is left of a broader case that began in 2012.
A portion of the fight between the Wynns ended earlier this month when an agreement that stipulated that they would vote jointly on company matters was deemed legally invalid. These came weeks after Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of the casino-operating company amid sexual misconduct allegations that were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reported two months ago that several women said the billionaire harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist formerly employed by the company. Other allegations and a settlement with a different employee have since surfaced.
Steve Wynn, 76, has vehemently denied the allegations the newspaper reported and attributed them to Elaine Wynn, whose attorney has denied that she instigated the news report.
Tuesday's hearing was set after the judge denied a motion from Steve Wynn's attorneys that sought to exclude from the trial the settlement he entered with the manicurist in 2005; alleged misuse of company resources including aircraft, Rolex watches and Ferrari automobiles; alleged illegal gambling and other misconduct by two company executives; and other issues.
"They'd like to try a case about sex, sexual harassment, illegal gambling, any other allegations that they can throw around without there being any evidence to link those allegations to the claims that she has asserted in this case," Todd Bice, an attorney Wynn Resorts, said during a March 16 hearing.
A so-called Petrocelli hearing like the one scheduled for Tuesday allows attorneys to present a judge, without a jury present, alleged prior bad acts and evidence to support them. The judge then determines whether those acts will be told to the jury.
"The proffer of this evidence does not go to Mr. Wynn's propensity to commit sexual misconduct, but does go to the potential motivation of the cross-defendants in not re-nominating or supporting Ms. Wynn for the board seat, which is the breach of contract claim," Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez said during a hearing Friday. "Ms. Wynn will have to show by a preponderance of the evidence that she reported each incident that she intends to introduce at trial and that there is credible evidence of the reported event."
Attorneys for Wynn Resorts in court documents have said Elaine Wynn "has even gone so far as to contact" the attorney for a woman who entered into a settlement with Steve Wynn "to ascertain her client's availability to testify" at the Petrocelli hearing.
Elaine Wynn owns 9.5 million shares in Wynn Resorts, which she founded with her ex-husband in 2002. Steve Wynn last week sold all his stock in the company.
A larger portion of the yearslong case was settled earlier this month when Wynn Resorts agreed to pay a Tokyo-based company $2.4 billion by the end of March.