By Sue Zeidler and Ronald Grover
LAS VEGAS, March 8 (Reuters) - Wynn Resorts Ltd , locked in a legal battle with one-time largest shareholder Kazuo Okada, has set a special shareholder meeting for late April or early May to try to oust the Japanese businessman from its board, the company said in court documents filed in Las Vegas.
Lawyers for both sides convened in a Nevada courtroom on Thursday for a hearing on a lawsuit filed by Okada that seeks access to financial records around a large donation by the casino company to a Macau university - a gift he says was inappropriate.
“If stockholders vote to remove Okada from the board, Okada would immediately lose standing to inspect Wynn’s books and records through his petition,” according to the Wynn filing, obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
Wynn’s lawyers had also asked for a 60-day stay of any court order to produce documents in Okada’s case, “to consider Okada’s request with the benefit of full and complete information regarding his status as a director, as a litigant, a competitor and his apparent media campaign to share information with the press.”
Okada owned a 20 percent stake in the company before Wynn unilaterally redeemed his shares on Feb. 24, after an internal investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh that alleged Okada may have violated U.S. anti-corruption laws.
After that report was made public, directors at Wynn’s Macau subsidiary voted Okada off their board.
Okada opened hostilities by filing his lawsuit in January against Wynn for blocking access to financial documents related to a $135 million donation by Wynn Resorts to the University of Macau.
Wynn’s filing “reveals its intent to draw this process to the point Okada is removed, thus eliminating its need to comply with his inspection requests,” Okada argued in his filings.