Every time a new story about Steve Wynn and the decades-old allegations of sexual harassment makes the news, the famous scene in the movie Casablanca replays in my head. The scene where Captain Renault is shutting down Rick’s Cabarete to show the German officials that he is truly in charge of Casablanca. Captain Renault tells Rick, ” I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” just as a croupier/dealer hands Renault a pile of money he won gambling.
That’s pretty much how the Steve Wynn Witch hunt played out. It’s a piece of old news/non-news regurgitated just in time to wash other politically damaging news off the public radar. The story worked, it took hold and has since gone viral.
So I have to ask, did the #metoo gang ever stop to wonder why, of all the stories in Las Vegas of overpowering CEO’s, sexism in the line of duty, why this story is the one they were hand-fed? Do they care? I guess I answered my own question. The #metoo gang was led blindly down a path with the promise of a big named victim. Never asking any questions from the people who were feeding them the “shocking” information.
To put it mildly, they were played by the Las Vegas political machine. So now we get to wait and see what the real damage to the future of Las Vegas tourism will be without the Wynn influence.
Rule 39 – There are No Coincidences
If you are a fan of the CBS show “NCIS” like I am, you know the lead character Leroy Jethro Gibbs lives by a set of rules. And rule 39 is in effect here. “There is no such thing as coincidences”. That fits this story so well. Everything that happened to bring down Steve Wynn was for purposes other than the supposed sexual assaults that the media made him guilty of. The coincidences are too many to think it was just a story that had merit.
The stories I have been told by women who worked the corporate offices of the major Vegas casinos of that time would make Hugh Hefner look like a choir boy. That doesn’t clear Steve Wynn of being an asshole or any other name you want. It just shows that this was not an isolated incident by any stretch of the imagination.
The stories cited in the media are so generic and common, you could easily replace Steve Wynn’s name with almost any casino manager over the last 30 years and easily find witnesses to back them up. So again, it makes you ask: Why this one? Why Steve Wynn and especially, why now??
There are way too many coincidences in this story to believe it was just one that the #metoo gang discovered and ran with. No, the timing and the players in it just scream for something a little deeper and political.
A good example would be to look at the one man who could benefit most from this change at the Wynn empire, Jim Murren. The CEO of MGM, the company that controls 55% of the Las Vegas Strip. Mr. Murren has the ego of Wynn, just not the ability to back it up as Steve Wynn can. Being Mr. MGM, Jim Murren is often cited as “the man who runs Las Vegas”. The gang over at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) will vouch for that. Yet, one phone call, one whisper, one interview from Steve Wynn, and things change instantly. So let’s be honest, Steve still held the reins of this city tightly.
Jim Murren needed to buy a 40-foot statue of a naked lady to prove that his company “protects women”. Now after this, he may need to get a second one just to cement this point. In my mind, if you need to buy a statue of a naked woman to prove a point about women, you have some really deep, dark secrets that will one day have to come out and shame you.
When Steve opened the Wynn and then the Encore, MGM properties lost their best front-line employees. Most of them were former Wynn employees from the time he owned and built the properties. Steve Wynn knows that if you take care of the employees, they will take care of the guests. As a result, many employees faithfully followed him as he built his empire, one mega-resort at a time.
MGM, on the other hand, is known to use the lack of labor laws here as a tool to shed employees at any moment possible. MGM is famous for their horrible treatment of employees and their questionable employment practices. They don’t discriminate when it comes to abusing the hired help. They mistreat male AND female staff alike.
Ask just about anyone who has ever played or stayed at a former Wynn property, and they will tell you it’s not the same place. MGM took over and it became a second-tier property. No matter if the same fountains danced or not. MGM doesn’t know how to treat guests or staff like Wynn does. Ouch!
To Boldly Build
Steve Wynn and company had recently started on two major projects that would add almost 5,000 new high-end suites and a mini-convention center to their Las Vegas empire. A serious threat to the MGM monopoly. The Wynn base clientele (high rollers) is the one customer segment MGM has never been able to hang on to with much success and would love to grab the Wynn Roladex/Contact List.
I also believe Jim Murren is agitated by the cozy relationship Wynn has started to build with his neighbor, Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Palazzo and the Venetian. Adelson has been one of the most vocal critics of Jim Murren and his handling of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Agency (LVCVA) funds (Your room tax money) . Although Adelson has one of the largest convention centers in Las Vegas and has 7,000 suites that pay room tax funds that go to support the LVCVA mission, the LVCVA and Jim Murren treat him as if he owned a Motel 6 on Boulder Highway. Basically, he is seen as another CEO who is a serious thorn in MGM’s backside.
Adelson and Wynn have never been really good neighbors until recently. But as Wynn and Adelson congratulate each other on their newest projects (Steve Wynn’s Paradise Park and Adelson’s proposed concert hall/sphere) that will add more firepower to the battle over room tax distribution. Their new friendship would certainly spill over and hurt MGM’s control of the LVCVA purse strings.
< Interesting Article: MSG Owners To Open MSG Sphere, A High-Tech New Concert Arena, On The Las Vegas Strip [Video]>
If the new rulers of the Wynn kingdom cannot continue to push the Wynn vision and innovate as in the past, the company could falter and be in line for a hostile takeover. Maybe a little déjà vu, Bellagio?? Do we really need another showroom with circus acrobats or more horrible reality TV magicians??
Toppling the man who still holds the most power on the Vegas Strip, could mean some bargains waiting to be picked up after the burning of the emperor’s body at the stake! With some members of the Gaming Control Board looking to supplement a job at Caesars or MGM after retirement, no worry about them raising a concern about growing the MGM monopoly even larger and stronger.
The Politics of Vegas
Steve Wynn is not alone in these sexual accusations. It’s just for the political cause, they have singled him out and fed him to the piranhas. Buying off cocktail waitresses who have dirty secrets on the boss or the big named clients?? I think Caesars has a department dedicated to that function alone, or at least they did until a certain Canadian singer’s manager/husband passed away!
In the last presidential election, Steve Wynn had gone against the traditional thinking of most of the other Vegas casino CEO’s and supported Donald Trump. MGM and Caesars management basically licked the boots of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and continually bowed and kissed the ring on Nevada’s US Senator Harry Reid’s hand until the very end. It was known that Elaine Wynn, Steve Wynn’s ex-wife, was a Hillary supporter in past elections and is currently in a nasty battle with Steve over her voting rights to the stock she owns since their divorce.
Hmm… Hillary, Reid, divorce, major ownership/control of stock for a major casino, power, then suddenly a 20-year-old non-story gets refresh and goes viral… Coincidence.
I keep finding the timing of it all too coincidental to be anything real. And many of those on the Strip or in the State Captial, jumping on the “let’s crucify Wynn” campaign has a few too many skeletons in their own closet to take them seriously other than to think they are trying to divert attention away from their own issues coming public. Hoping if they feed the angry mob of vagina wearing hats, a high profile person, they will leave the rest of them alone??
Unlikely. Las Vegas is a town that was created out of corruption and it never changed and we don’t try to hide it. The passing of white envelopes filled with faces of dead presidents between business owners and politicians in broad daylight is legendary and true.
Read: Murder in Sin City: Death of a Casino Boss(Amazon)
Some people here pride themselves and like to display the fact that they have “juice” in this town and can make a golf course turn into a stadium parking garage or a plot of excess land designated for cemetery use only, suddenly be magically rezoned for a Walmart shopping center just after the land lease was signed by county commissioners. Amazing how that happens here and its never hidden!
The timing of the article in the Wall Street Journal, the people involved, the age of the allegations and the lack of any real damaging evidence, all add up to a Harry Reid inspired plot of dirty tricks. His specialty. Our now retired US Senator and the man many claimed was “Most Powerful Man in the US Senate” has not been heard from since he retired from the Senate shortly after his exercise ball attacked him in his bathroom.
His prolonged silence around Las Vegas and the nation has a few people concerned as to what he has been plotting … I mean what he’s been up to lately.
Steve Wynn never backed down from his support of Harry Reid. However, Steve Wynn had an infamous epic rant against Harry Reid’s handler, Barrack Obama in 2011. Growing up, I was always told that you can never really be friends with a pit bull on a leash until the man holding the leash says he likes you. Let’s just say the pit bull wasn’t happy about the rant.
Feeding the media a 30-year old story about sexual allegations against Steve Wynn just as the Federal government starts to think about holding public hearings on why the Clive Bundy case was so mismanaged that a federal judge dismissed the charges and released the Nevada rancher last month, screams coincidences out of the normal path of coincidences.
The Bundy Story
Clive Bundy was the Nevada rancher who in 2014, with a growing group of supports, had an armed standoff against agents from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who came locked and loaded in military-style equipment and weapons. All this was supposedly due to some overdue federal/state grazing rights and fees. No, the BLM is not known to evict ranchers using M16 assault rifles and tanks at the front gate. Except in this case. They wanted Budy off the land now and weren’t taking “No” for an answer.
If you were to connect the dots between the standoff and the government land Clive Budy was leasing for his cattle grazing, you may start to see some connections between the sudden need to move some endangered desert tortoises off government land near Laughlin, Nevada and put them where a longtime Nevada rancher has been leasing said government land for cattle grazing for decades. The sudden need to move the tortoise to the new grazing area has some strange coincidences to a Chinese solar energy company that was being represented here in the United States by the son of now-retired Nevada US Senator Harry Reid and their desire to build a solar power plant on government land they acquired dirt cheap, near Laughlin, Nevada. Hmmm…
Now it’s a back page story again…
Can we say Hypocrocy?
The faux concern about all this by the Nevada Gaming Control Board reaks of hypocrisy. Claiming such allegations against Mr. Wynn, if true, could be deemed a detriment to the gaming industry and hurt the reputation of the state.
Really? I don’t remember the Gaming Control Board so concerned about the reputation of the State, or the safety of the gamblers visiting Las Vegas when in 2007, it was found that Harrahs (now Ceasars Entertainment) remodeled 17 floors of the original Ipanema tower at the Rio, without permits or safety inspections. It wasn’t until a whistleblower caught the attention of a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter, did the story even see the light of day.
Upon outside investigation, they found the new layout of the suites did not match the official drawings in the county recorders office. Meaning had a fire happened in that tower, the firefighters would be planning search and rescues and fire containment using obsolete schematics of the rooms. The locations of a hotel room door, fire exits, and windows on the plans did not match what was in the hotel tower.
Think of it this way: Imagine the October 1 massacre and the SWAT team was planning the raid on the shooters suite using schematics and drawings on file. OOps, no door there, an exit that they didn’t know about there… Get the picture??
That incident once made public, caused Harrah’s to give the State, County and City authorities their best puppy dog eyes, apologize, promising never to do it again. So by doing that, everyone was happy. Nobody died, no harm, no foul. They said “Sorry” and the CEO kept his job and life went on.
Yet, this “minor” violation has not deemed a detriment to the gaming industry and hurt the reputation of the state??
It should be noted that the executive from Harrah’s that was the spokesperson during all this, was former Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones. Coincidence?
So the risk of not being able to rescue tourists trapped in a burning building is not a threat to the State, yet a 20-year-old story of a casino CEO possibly paying off a cocktail waitress for sexual favors is?? Or could it be that the CEO in question happened to do the unthinkable, vote for Donald Trump, piss off Harry Reid and became finance chairman of the Republican National Committee?? Oh my god, NOW that could cause harm to the Las Vegas economy!! It needs to be deeply and thoroughly researched and the man must be taken down!! Really??
In the end, It’s Vegas, we will survive and tourists may still come no matter what the end result of this witch hunt is… But it is a witch hunt that shows no signs of ending…