Elaine Wynn, who co-founded and helped bring Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) to the top of the gambling world along with ex-husband, Steve Wynn filed supporting documents in a Nevada court Monday looking to back up a barrage of claims against her former husband. Ms. Wynn is attempting to change or void conditions set on her ownership of stock in Wynn Resorts. Ms. Wynn signed an agreement limiting her ability to sell some 10 million shares (worth about $900m today) when the couple was divorced in 2010. The stock was trading at about $44 per share on Jan. 4, 2010 and had nearly doubled by the end of the year with Mr. Wynn’s consolidation of control and the opening of Wynn’s Macau casino.
In March 2015 Elaine Wynn was removed from the board of directors of the company when she was not renominated. She filed a proxy challenge to retain the seat but during the annual stockholder meeting in April she was not re-elected. One of the reasons given in the proxy fight was that she had allegedly transferred shares to a charity she owned in order to sell them, when she was not allowed to sell stock during the period in question. Mr. Wynn stayed out of the fray at that time letting the board speak for the company’s interests.
Last month Forbes listed the wealth of the “Queen of Las Vegas” at $1.3 billion, right behind Lawrence Ho and Kazuo Okada on its list of “40 Billionaires Who Won Fortunes In The Business Of Vice“.
Kazuo Okada figures prominently in Ms. Wynns latest claims. At the time she signed the agreement, Mr. Okada owned 20% of the company but was later forced to redeem his shares at a discount, resulting in a court battle that is going on to this day. Some observers contend that Okada was forced from the company when the stock deal between mister and missus left him with a controlling interest. Ms. Wynn contend she should be released from the agreement because a similar agreement that bound Okada was rescinded.
Yesterday Ms. Wynn’s attorneys filed supporting documents to the lawsuit she bought on March 28, 2016 which seeks to void the agreement. The motion notes in part, “Mr. Wynn will be hard pressed to point to a single one of Ms. Wynn’s new allegations as to which he does not have far more access than she…As of the filing of this motion, only nine depositions have been taken, and more than 20 are presently scheduled…The Directors of Wynn Resorts in particular have recently begun to collect and produce documents on their own behalf…Now that discovery has finally begun, startling admissions by Wynn Resorts Directors disclosed new facts,” a press release from her spokespeople said.
Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts responded through a spokesman yesterday saying inter alia, “In issuing a press release regarding the routine filing of purported supporting documents, Ms. Wynn is simply recycling the same lies and distortions she has sought to promulgate in an attempt to embarrass Mr. Wynn, his fellow Board members and colleagues. She is promising verification for these same tired allegations without delivering on them. There was no legal reason for her press release. Her only motivation is an attempt to harm Mr. Wynn and Wynn Resorts and conduct the trial of her unfounded allegations in the press rather than in court where they are destined to be proved false,” the statement said.
The statement concluded in saying that Mr. Wynn had tried to address Ms. Wynn’s requests, going so far as offering in March to buy all or part of her stock.
The Wynns were first married in 1963. They divorced in 1986, remarried in 1991, and then divorced again in 2010. Ms. Wynn’s current lawsuit was filed as a counterclaim to the 2012 suit by Wynn Resorts against Kazuo Okada. In addition to Steve Wynn the suit names Wynn Resorts and Wynn’s General Counsel Kimmarie Sinatra. Elaine Wynn is seeking punitive and compensatory damages for, among other things, Mr. Wynn allegedly failing to support her re-election to the board last year.
The case is Wynn Resorts Ltd v Okada et al, Nevada District Court, Clark County, No. A-12-656710-B.