Republicans Urged to Return Donations from Casino Boss Steve Wynn after Sexual Misconduct Allegations

GOP Senators have urged Republican colleagues to return any donations they had received from casino boss Steve Wynn, after multiple sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him late last week. Mr. Wynn is a long-time GOP donor and up until this weekend he took the post of a Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee.

The Wall Street Journal published an extensive report on Friday, providing details about the casino magnate’s decades-long alleged pattern of sexual misconduct towards staff members at his company Wynn Resorts. Mr. Wynn is a founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Las Vegas-headquartered casino operator.

The major gambling company currently operates properties on the Las Vegas Strip and Macau, and is building a $2.4-billion integrated resort near Boston. The project is touted to be the largest private single-phase construction project in Massachusetts’ history.

Following the publication of Wall Street Journal’s report, Mr. Wynn stepped down from his post at the Republican National Committee, although he called the allegations against him “preposterous”.

Multiple Republican politicians have distanced themselves from the business mogul over the weekend. Sen. Lindsey Graham told the ABC on Sunday that if the allegations have merit, politicians should return the money they had been donated. Sen. Graham himself does not appear to have received money from the casino boss, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a number of Republican politicians have confirmed that they would donate the money they had been contributed to by Mr. Wynn to various charities.

During the presidential campaigns in 2016, the Las Vegas businessman provided financial backing to both Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and now US President Donald Trump. Mr. Wynn and Mr. Trump once were business rivals. They have a history of an on and off friendship. Back in 2016, Mr. Trump called Mr. Wynn a “great friend” who had provided him with important advice.

Long Pattern of Sexual Harassment

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that both former and current employees at Wynn Resorts had revealed multiple sexual harassment incidents involving their boss, Mr. Wynn. One of these incidents involved a former Wynn Las Vegas manicurist who had claimed that the businessman had forced her into performing a sex act in his office. Mr. Wynn then paid her a $7.5-million settlement to keep the occurrence away from the media radar.

The Board of Wynn Resorts opened an investigation into the matter, although it said in a statement from this weekend that no complaint has ever been made against Mr. Wynn.

It also became clear that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will review the appropriateness of Wynn Resorts operating a casino resort in the state, following the allegations. Wynn Boston Harbor, the $2.4-billion integrated resort currently under construction on the Everett waterfront near Boston, is slated to open doors next spring. However, it seems that Wynn Resorts’ license might be at risk, particularly if the allegations against its founder and major shareholder prove true.

As mentioned above, Mr. Wynn dismissed the sexual misconduct reports, further suggesting that these could have been spread by his former spouse Elaine Wynn, whom he is engaged in a years-long legal war with. Mrs. Wynn was ousted from the Wynn Resorts Board following her divorce from Mr. Wynn in 2010. She has been seeking to regain control over her stake for several years now without much success.

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