(Corrects spelling of Okada’s name in first paragraph.)
Lawyers for Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) and Kazuo Okada, the director whose 20 percent stake in the casino operator was redeemed by Wynn, won’t be in court tomorrow for a hearing on Okada’s request for documents.
The hearing was postponed until March 8 at the request of the lawyers, Mary Ann Price, a spokeswoman for the Nevada state court in Las Vegas, said today in a telephone interview. Price couldn’t immediately say which side had asked for the delay.
Clark County, Nevada, District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez on Feb. 9 declined to rule on Okada’s request for a court order that, as a director, he was entitled to inspect the company’s books and records. The judge had ordered lawyers for Wynn and Okada to return to court tomorrow so she could decide whether Okada’s request was “reasonable.”
Okada, a billionaire who through his Tokyo-based Universal Entertainment Corp. (6425) held the largest single stake in Wynn, sued last month, claiming the company hadn’t provided information he requested about a HK$1 billion ($135 million) pledge to the University of Macau, the use of $30 million he invested in 2002, and an amended stockholders agreement.
Las Vegas-based Wynn, which is run by Stephen Wynn, on Feb. 19 said it redeemed Okada’s 24 million shares for $1.9 billion and asked him to resign as director, saying he was “unsuitable.” An investigation had found that Okada appeared to have paid $110,000 to gaming regulators in the Philippines in violation of U.S. anti-corruption laws, Wynn said.
In a separate lawsuit filed Feb. 19, Wynn alleges that Okada is developing two casinos and three hotels in Manila and that he seeks to lure “high-limit, VIP gamblers” from China in direct competition with Wynn’s casino in Macau. Construction on the Manila Bay casino resort started Jan. 26, Wynn said in its complaint.
Okada’s interest in seeking access to Wynn’s books and records was an attempt to divert attention away from his own misconduct in the Philippines, Wynn said in the complaint.
Universal said in a Feb. 19 statement that Wynn’s redemption of the shares because of the Philippines project was “outrageous.” The company said it will take all legal steps necessary to protect its investment.
Okada said in his Jan. 11 petition for a ruling to inspect Wynn’s books and records that he objected to the May 2011 pledge to the University of Macau Development Foundation. The $135 million pledge appeared to be unprecedented in the university’s history and there had been no discussion whether the gift was appropriate use of corporate funds, according to the petition.
Wynn said Feb. 13 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, following Okada’s lawsuit, had asked the company to preserve information related to the University of Macau donation “in connection with an informal inquiry.”
Charles Sipkins, a spokesman for Wynn, and Universal Entertainment spokesman Nobuyuki Horiuchi declined to comment on the postponement.
The case is Okada v. Wynn Resorts, A-12-654522, Clark County, Nevada, District Court (Las Vegas.)
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com.