Steve Wynn's Ex-Wife Steps Up Fight Over Her Casino Stake

  • She is challenging 2010 agreement restricting shares sale
  • Elaine Wynn alleges her 2015 ouster from board was retaliation

Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of Wynn Resorts Ltd. founder Steve Wynn, stepped up her fight to gain control over a block of 10 million shares in the casino operator that she can’t sell due to a 2010 agreement with her former husband and his ex-business partner Kazuo Okada.

Elaine Wynn served up new claims in Nevada state court Monday that her ex-husband orchestrated her ouster from the board last year in retaliation for her asking questions about the “tone at the top” and “reckless” mismanagement of Wynn Resorts.

“Among other things, Ms. Wynn learned that Mr. Wynn, using the services of a private criminal defense attorney and a private gaming attorney, has previously made a multimillion dollar payment after apparently being threatened with allegations of serious misconduct occurring on company property against a Wynn Resorts employee,” according to Elaine Wynn’s filing.

Elaine Wynn has been fighting to be freed from a stockholders agreement that prevents her from selling her share of the company. She argues that she shouldn’t continue to be bound by restrictions from a 2010 agreement similar to those on shares held by Okada, the Japanese billionaire whose 20 percent stake in Wynn Resorts was forcibly redeemed after he was accused by the company of making improper payments to Philippine gambling regulators. Okada has denied the allegations.

Elaine Wynn’s central claim is that once Okada was stripped of his shares, the restrictions on her shares were no longer valid. She has now hired new attorneys and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, among other claims, from her ex-husband.

‘Lies and Distortions’

“This lawsuit is filled with lies and distortions and is an embarrassment to Ms. Wynn and her counsel,” a spokesman for Steve Wynn said in a statement. “This is simply an attempt to inflict personal pain on Mr. Wynn. Ms. Wynn is a disappointed ex-wife who is seeking to tarnish the reputation of Wynn Resorts and Steve Wynn and their daughters.”

Elaine Wynn has been aware since 2009 of the settlement Steve Wynn reached with the company employee using his personal funds, according to the statement.

“Never once did she raise the issue during the dozens of board meetings she attended over six years, or over the course of the proxy fight she ran last year in an attempt to regain her board seat,” the spokesman said.

The Wynns control about 21 percent of the stock in the Las Vegas company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Elaine Wynn came to own 10 million shares, now worth a little less than $1 billion, after the couple’s 2009 divorce that entitled her to half their community assets.

The case is Wynn Resorts v. Okada, A-12-656710-B, Clark County District Court, Nevada (Las Vegas).

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