Massachusetts casino panel: Wynn settlement was kept from us

FILE - This March 15, 2016 file photo shows casino mogul Steve Wynn during a news conference in Medford, Mass. Massachusetts gambling regulators are holding a special meeting to discuss sexual misconduct allegations against casino magnate Wynn, whose company is building a $2.4 billion casino outside Boston. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will receive an update on an investigation on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The Associated Press

 Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned Tuesday as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations.

The Las Vegas-based company in a statement said Wynn's resignation was effective immediately. It came less than two weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of women said Wynn harassed or assaulted them and that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement.

"In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity," Wynn said in a written statement. "As I have reflected upon the environment this has created — one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts — I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles."

The billionaire has vehemently denied the report's allegations, which he attributes to a campaign led by his ex-wife. An attorney for Elaine Wynn has denied that she instigated the news report.

Wynn now faces investigations by gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts, where the company is building a roughly $2.4 billion casino just outside Boston. The company earlier said a committee of independent directors would investigate the allegations that surfaced Jan. 26.

Shares of Wynn Resorts' China arm, Wynn Macau Ltd., were suspended from trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday in Asia. Gambling regulators in Macau, the world's biggest casino market, said they were officially notified about the resignation.

A wave of sexual misconduct claims against prominent figures in entertainment, media and politics gained momentum last fall in the aftermath of articles detailing movie producer Harvey Weinstein's decades of alleged rape and harassment. But Wynn is the first CEO and founder of a major publicly held company to come under scrutiny since the Weinstein allegations surfaced.

Wynn resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee a day after the allegations were published.

Since 2013, Wynn has contributed nearly $2.4 million to GOP candidates and party organizations around the country. Some Republicans in Congress, including Nevada's Dean Heller, have already announced they are donating contributions they received from Wynn to charity.

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