By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES Feb 21 Dissident Wynn Resorts Ltd
shareholder Kazuo Okada resigned on Thursday from the
casino giant's board, one day before a scheduled special
shareholder meeting to vote on his removal.
The Japanese billionaire submitted his resignation in a
letter, his lawyers said. His exit from the board is the latest
twist in a year-long legal battle between Wynn Chief Executive
Steve Wynn and his one-time partner and largest investor.
It also follows last week's rejection by a federal judge of
Okada's bid to block the shareholder vote. Okada's Universal
Entertainment was Wynn's largest shareholder until
Feb. 18, 2012, when the board forceably redeemed its 19.75
On Thursday, Okada said in a statement that despite his
resignation, he will continue his legal battle in Nevada state
court to fight the redemption and to clear his name.
"I remain determined to fight Steve Wynn's involuntary
redemption of my nearly 20 percent stake in Wynn Resorts at a 30
percent discount and my resignation from the Wynn Resorts Board
will not impede me from protecting my good name and reputation,"
Okada said in a release.
Wynn said it will still hold the meeting, as planned,
tomorrow. Preliminary results received to date show that 99.7
percent of the shares voted have voted for Okada's removal, the
company said in a statement.
Wynn also said that as a result of Okada's resignation, the
Wynn board will be reduced to eight directors, including six
independent directors, it said.
Federal Judge James Mahan ruled last week against the
Japanese investor's contention that Wynn had given its
shareholders a "grotesquely slanted proxy riddled with material
In regulatory filings, Wynn has said it redeemed Okada's
shares based on findings in an independent report by former FBI
Director Louis Freeh that concluded Okada engaged in improper
conduct with cash payments and gifts to Filipino gaming
Okada has denied the allegations.
In a court filing last year, Okada said the Freeh report did
not show anything that "could pose a legitimate and imminent
danger to Wynn Resorts' gaming licenses."
Independent shareholder proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass
Lewis recommended that Wynn shareholders vote to remove Okada
from the board.
In December, Okada and his Universal Entertainment Corp filed
a libel action against Thomson Reuters and others over
news articles relating to payments Universal made to an
ex-consultant to the Philippine gaming authority.