The special committee of Wynn Resorts Ltd. independent board members has hired a Los Angeles law firm with a special emphasis on workplace sexual harassment cases to assist in investigating allegations of sexual impropriety by Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn.
The firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP on Friday said it would create a telephonic and internet-based reporting system for current and former Wynn employees to provide information that could be relevant to the investigation of Wynn, who is accused of demanding sexual favors from and assaulting female hotel employees over the last three decades.
Wynn has vehemently denied the allegations, first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 26.
Wynn and the company had no comment Saturday on the hiring of O’Melveny.
Mulroy to head investigation
The Wynn Resorts board formed the special committee investigating the allegations last week. Pat Mulroy, the only woman on the 10-member board, is heading the investigation and will be assisted by retired U.S. Navy Admiral Jay Johnson and M&H Realty Partners and WestLand Capital Chairman John Hagenbuch.
Mulroy last week affirmed that the committee would select independent counsel to assist in the investigation, one of four being conducted into allegations against the longtime casino executive who built The Mirage, Bellagio and the international casino company that bears his name.
Other investigations are underway by gaming regulators — the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Apalla Chopra, chair of the law firm’s Labor and Employment Practice and a nationally recognized expert in investigating employment issues, and Daniel Bookin, a former federal prosecutor who specializes in advising independent board committees regarding internal investigations, will work with the special committee, according to the statement from O’Melveny.
The firm, which has about 700 lawyers in 15 offices worldwide, said details of the reporting system resources would be announced shortly.
O’Melveny recently published a paper on its website on how to build a workplace environment that rejects sexual harassment.
“The political and cultural climate surrounding workplace sexual harassment is evolving faster than many companies can address or adapt to on their own,” the paper said. “Internal and external stakeholders (management, employees, customers, clients and business partners) have new and heightened expectations about what companies should be doing to prevent and respond to harassment — whether reported or not.”
In another development, British new-wave musician Elvis Costello on Friday canceled six appearances at Wynn’s Encore Theater. It’s unclear whether the cancellations had anything to do with the allegations.
Costello’s website said the Feb. 28 and March 2, 3, 7, 9 and 10 appearances by him and his band, The Imposters, were scratched “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Full refunds will be available from points of purchase.