Casino kingpin Steve Wynn is taking legal action against a former employee over comments made to the Wall Street Journal. Claiming defamation, Wynn filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court against Jorgen Nielsen, former artistic director of the Wynn Las Vegas salon.
The suit claims Nielsen made “false and defamatory” statements to the Journal, which were quoted in two articles about alleged sexual misconduct claims against Mr. Wynn. The reports eventually led to Wynn’s resignation from the CEO and chairman positions of Wynn Resorts. He also had to give up the finance chair with the Republican National Committee.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one WSJ article described how Nielsen and other Wynn Resort employees were “petrified” whenever the casino billionaire visited the salon. The former stylist detailed to the newspaper how Wynn supposedly made staff members perform sexual acts and that company executives routinely ignored complaints of sexual harassment.
The first Journal article, published at the end of January, alleged Mr. Wynn forced a salon manicurist to have sex and paid her over $7 million to keep the incident quiet. Mr. Wynn says that never happened, calling the accusation “preposterous.”
Another claim made by Mr. Nielsen to the Journal accuses the former CEO of chasing a salon manager around until she escaped to a bathroom. Attorneys representing the aging entrepreneur also dispute this story as Wynn is legally blind and cannot even manage a handshake without struggling.
When the WSJ published the January article, Mr. Wynn was fighting a legal battle with his ex-wife Elaine Wynn. The fight was about Mrs. Wynn’s financial stake in Wynn Resorts.
As it turns out, Nielsen is Elaine’s personal hairstylist. Mr. Wynn has suggested Elaine influenced the Journal articles and Nielsen’s comments in an effort to undermine the “highly public and contentious litigation.”
Investing billions of dollars in several Las Vegas casinos, Steve Wynn created the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Bellagio. With an estimated net worth over $3.1 billion, the casino tycoon is among the 400 wealthiest Americans, according to Forbes.
The defamation lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. So far, Jorgen Nielsen has not publicly commented on Wynn’s complaint.