Wynn Resorts proposes dropping 'Wynn' name from Massachusetts casino

BOSTON (Reuters) - Wynn Resorts Ltd WYNN.O on Friday proposed renaming a planned $2.5 billion casino in Massachusetts following allegations that founder Steve Wynn routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted sexual advances.

FILE PHOTO - Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Wynn Chief Executive Matt Maddox at a meeting before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Boston formally proposed renaming the Wynn Boston Harbor project “Encore Boston Harbor.”

“This company is not about a man,” Maddox said.

The announcement came at a hearing in which the five-member panel considered the Las Vegas-based company’s request to remove Wynn’s name from its state casino license after he divested his ownership interests in Wynn Resorts.

State regulators have been conducting a review related to sexual misconduct allegations involving Wynn, the long-time face of the company who resigned as CEO in February following a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said former and current company staff members it interviewed accused Wynn of creating a hostile work environment for women and of regularly pressuring employees to perform sex acts.

Reuters has not independently verified the allegations.

Wynn, 76, has denied the accusations as “preposterous.” The billionaire divested himself of his entire 11.8 percent stake in Wynn Resorts in March.

At Friday’s meeting, Maddox - who took over as CEO in February - detailed steps Wynn Resorts had taken to distance itself from its founder and adjust its corporate culture, including by adding three women to its board of directors.

“We are taking these issues very seriously,” he said.

Commissioners at the hearing sought to understand what if any ties Wynn still has to company to determine whether he should be removed as “qualifier” for the purposes of its 2014 casino license.

Qualifiers, who must pass a state background check, can include top executives and shareholders as well people with close business associations with a licensee.

Brian Kelly, a lawyer for Wynn, in a letter made public earlier this month contended that the commission should no longer consider his client part of the project in Everett, Massachusetts.

The casino is scheduled to open in 2019.

Asked on Friday about the planned casino’s renaming, Kelly said in a statement: “Mr. Wynn is no longer a shareholder or executive of the company and it is entirely up to the company as to what the casino is called in the future.”

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Susan Thomas, G Crosse