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MGM Resorts Told to Rehire Condo Sales Whistle-Blower

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- MGM Resorts International was ordered to rehire a condominium sales employee and pay about $325,000 in damages under whistle-blower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The employee worked at The Signature at MGM Grand, a condominium and hotel complex on the Las Vegas Strip, according to a statement yesterday from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The worker was terminated for disclosing that colleagues were allegedly violating Securities and Exchange Commission rules by providing revenue and occupancy estimates to potential condominium buyers, while they were not licensed to do so, OSHA said. If a condo is offered for sale with an emphasis on its economic benefit from rent, it is deemed a security and such properties require licensed securities brokers to sell them, the agency said.

“This employee tried to ensure the employer was following the law and paid a hefty price for speaking up,” Ken Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco said in the statement.

OSHA enforces the whistle-blower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley. The department does not release employee names in whistle-blower complaints.

“We view this preliminary finding as fundamentally wrong on the facts and the law of this matter,” Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts said in an e-mailed statement. “We intend to pursue avenues for further review.”

OSHA’s order to rehire the employee was earlier reported by the Associated Press.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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