Is it Believable New Wynn CEO Was Ignorant of Multimillion Dollar Settlement?

It’s clear that Wynn Resorts was grooming Matt Maddox to succeed Steve Wynn as the head of the $25 billion company. He was methodically promoted at a relatively young age. Everything pointed to him as the heir apparent. So, is it believable that he was not in anyway aware of the $7.5 million settlement Steve Wynn paid to a resort manicurist to make sexual assault charges go away?

The Boston Globe Monday ran a feature interview with Maddox. In response to a question about whether he knew about the 2005 settlement, he replied, “The answer is no.” A seemingly simple response but a bit revealing. He didn’t say, “No,” or, “The truth is no.” He said his answer is no. Nit-picking? Maybe. Maybe not.

Wynn Boston Harbor under construction on the Mystic River in Everett.

The question of whether or not Maddox or any member of the Wynn Resorts board of directors knew about the settlement or other claims of sexual abuse and assault against Wynn is a monumental one. Since the Wall Street Journal uncovered charges of a decades-long pattern of alleged sexual abuse, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been investigating whether Wynn Resorts is “suitable” to hold the state’s lone Eastern Massachusetts resort casino license. Wynn passed such a “suitability” test in 2014.

From left, new Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox, Steve Wynn, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

The commission’s investigating arm has already said Wynn purposely hid the settlement from the commission during the 2014 review. When the latest charges were raised, Steve Wynn resigned as CEO. Institutions of higher education scrambled to pull his name off various buildings and programs. He also resigned as finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

In the Globe interview, Maddox stressed that the Wynn company goes beyond just one man—its founder. He also begged off the question of whether his board knew of Wynn’s supposed predatory behavior. “I know that our board of directors and the regulators are investigating all of this, so I wouldn’t want to get ahead of who knew what when, but I can tell you there’s a full investigation going on and I think it will all come out, and I’m happy to participate and participate fully,” he told the paper.

The real question is how does all of Wynn’s problems impact the colossal $2.4 billion resort casino under construction in Everett, Mass. The immense development rises to be seen from further away every day. It is the epitome of “too big to fail.” Everett and surrounding towns are counting on the jobs and revenue long promised by Wynn.

Some Everett residents even see any reporting on Wynn to be “anti-Everett.” The city received $12 million this year and is scheduled to get $30 million a year when the resort opens next year. Any delay would be extremely harmful to revenue-starved cities and towns impacted.