AP NEWS

Mohegan Sun to continue pursuing suit against Massachusetts Gaming Commission

May 1, 2019

After reviewing a 54-page report of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s investigation of Wynn Resorts’ “suitability” to operate a Boston-area casino, Mohegan Sun officials vowed Wednesday to pursue their pending lawsuit over the commission’s 2014 decision to grant Wynn the casino license.

“Mohegan Sun’s ongoing litigation challenging the award of the Region A license continues, and certain evidence from the suitability proceeding will likely be material to our litigation,” said Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegan Tribe’s chief of staff.

Mohegan Sun lost out to Wynn in a two-way competition for the license.

The commission released its report Tuesday night, outlining its reasons for concluding that Wynn Resorts deserved to keep the license despite the company’s mishandling of workplace sexual-misconduct allegations against the company’s former chairman, chief executive officer and namesake, Steve Wynn. The commission imposed a 500,000 for transgressions that include his failing to launch an investigation into an employee’s harassment complaint.

Encore Boston Harbor, Wynn Resorts’ 20 million fine on the company while allowing it to continue to operate Las Vegas casinos.

“I wasn’t surprised. I figured they would fine them,” McGowan said, referring to the Massachusetts commissioners. “I would say they lost a lot of credibility by not catching some of this stuff before. But they made a statement. Thirty-five million dollars is a nice hunk of Wynn’s profits from last year. It’s not an insubstantial amount.”

The commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau began looking into allegations against Steve Wynn soon after The Wall Street Journal reported on them in January 2018. Within weeks of the Journal’s report, Wynn stepped down as chairman and CEO, and by that April he had shed his ownership interests in the company.

Massachusetts’ investigators traveled to six states and interviewed more than 100 people, including victims of the alleged sexual misconduct and current and former Wynn employees with knowledge of the allegations, according to the commission’s report.

Among the allegations detailed in the report are those surrounding a 2005 incident in which a manicurist working at Wynn Las Vegas reported to a supervisor that Steve Wynn had raped her and that she was pregnant by him. Wynn reached a $7.5 million settlement with the woman.

“The Company did not document or investigate the allegation as required by the Company’s human resources policies. No one informed the Board of Directors of the allegation or the settlement,” the report says.

A number of Wynn Resorts executives and board members have been replaced since the Journal report surfaced.

Encore Boston Harbor will be the second Massachusetts resort casino to open in less than a year, joining MGM Springfield, which debuted last August. Their presence alters a New England gaming landscape once dominated by Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com