Elaine Wynn cut a dynamic course across the South Boston Convention Center last week during the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) hearings – dressing stylishly and being present all week as a concerned member of the company she helped found and currently its largest shareholder.
On Thursday, after observing and being seen for two days, it was her turn to tell the Commission what she knew and when she knew it. Wynn was one of only three that the MGC knows had knowledge of Steve Wynn’s alleged impropriety before the MGC made its decision on licensing in 2013.
The other two, including Steve Wynn and Kim Sinatra, are no longer with the company.
Wearing a pink blazer and a fuchsia scarf, her one-hour testimony on Thursday afternoon focused on how she had trusted the legal team to have handled those things – which she said she first learned about during her divorce from Steve Wynn in 2009. Only in the last few years when she was fighting a legal claim did she begin to doubt things were handled properly.
She told the Commission that she loves the company, and her presence was a statement that she could be trusted to handle things properly.
“All I can tell you is that I am here by desire,” she said. “At one time I could have given up and chose to sell. I could have sold the shares and left the company, but I didn’t. I’m here because I am Team Wynn.”
Elaine Wynn told the Commission that she and Steve Wynn started the current company from scratch out of a room at the Desert Inn, cherry-picking the best people in the industry to help them set up.
The current conflict, for her, started when she got an e-mail out of the blue in 2009 while in the midst of a messy divorce with Steve Wynn. In that e-mail, she learned that her husband had made a settlement in 2005 with an employee that had accused him of raping her.
Saying she wanted to see his reaction when she confronted him, Elaine Wynn said she went right to her husband.
“He waved a piece of paper in front of me; it was a paper that was supposed to be a retraction and it was supposed to be confidential,” she said. “In the fog of war, I did not absorb the verbiage, but it appeared to be very general and had a signature. He did not give it to me…It appeared to be very general and since Mr. Wynn had a history of different kinds of mood swings that could be interpreted as aggressive and accusatory, I understood there had been interactions with employees that could be described as bullyish…My ex-husband had a reputation of being flashy and he had been accused of things other than sexual harassment like waitresses and their weight. I thought of it as him being overbearing and bullying. I did not go to a dark place.”
Commissioners pressed her on why she is now so resolute in her belief and judgement of the situation – and why she should not be penalized for not telling them about it in 2013.
She explained that she had always trusted former Legal Counsel Kim Sinatra and other company and private attorneys that handled matters for them over the years. When she began to find herself in trouble with the Board and the company – seen as a “bitter ex-wife” – she began asking questions and feeling like things hadn’t been handled property concerning her ex-husband’s alleged behavior.
“(Around 2016), I no longer had confidence with what they told me about the handling of the 2005 incident,” she said.
“I did not know the veracity of the claims, but I did believe there should have been an investigation,” she said later.
One key piece addressed in the testimony was when Elaine Wynn told Sinatra about the allegations. That had been in great dispute all week, with Sinatra telling MGC investigators that came in 2012 – though she couldn’t remember fully (which was a trend for her throughout the report).
Elaine Wynn was adamant that she spoke to Sinatra about the allegation in 2009 during the time of her divorce, though she could not offer up any paper trail for that.
“I strongly maintain I spoke to her in 2009,” she said.
Where was Kim Sinatra last week?
Few other people were mentioned so much during last week’s MGC hearings as Kim Sinatra, the former legal counsel for Wynn Resorts who often traveled to Everett and seemingly enjoyed working with the people and local officials here.
She would attend Planning Board Meetings, Conservation Commission hearings and even small community meetings on occasion.
But she wasn’t in Everett last week; nor was she in Boston.
Sinatra was nowhere to be found around the MGC hearings last week despite being one of the central figures in the matter – and one of three people who knew about misconduct allegations during the 2013 licensing process in Massachusetts.
MGC Spokesperson Elaine Driscoll said the MGC had subpoenaed Sinatra to appear before the Commission. However, her attorneys declined her appearance and said the timing didn’t work.
She said there aren’t any clear penalties for anyone who ignores a subpoena and isn’t a gaming qualifier.
“The Commission will now determine next steps,” she said.
Sinatra’s attorneys were not able to be reached by the Independent.
Councilor McLaughlin issues statement on hearings
City Councilor Michael McLaughlin said on Monday that he had attended all of the hearings last week, and felt like he supported the Everett project, and hoped the local team would bring a smooth opening in June.
“After attending the three days of hearings last week of the Mass Gaming Commission, I still fully support keeping Wynn Resorts as the Region A Casino licensee,” he said.
“I have faith that the MGC will make the right decision regarding this project, its employees and the Commonwealth,” he continued. “Thousands of people are working or are planning to begin a new career because of this project. I have tremendous respect for (Encore) President Bob DeSalvio and the local team. Also, I have full faith that they will ensure a smooth and successful opening of Encore Boston Harbor as soon as possible.”