DRIVEN FROM HIS LAS VEGAS EMPIRE, WHERE WILL WYNN LAND NEXT?
(CAPTION: STEVE WYNN AND HIS WIFE ANDREA SHOWN DURING a 2016 RED CARPET INTERVIEW AT WYNN LAS VEGAS.) Photo: Norm Clarke Now that Las Vegas icon Steve Wynn has divested himself from his two Las Vegas properties, the question remains: where will he land after his epic fall from grace following devastating sexual misconduct accusations?
It seems highly unlikely he will remain in Las Vegas amid continued damaging revelations.
Will he return to East Coast, where he grew up and inherited his father’s bingo business after his father’s death in 1963.
He could stay on the West Coast, where he owns several houses, including a mansion, in Beverly Hills.
Or will he retreat to Europe, where he has spent much of his time in recent years on his French Riviera-based yachts?
I’m told low-profile paparazzi have begun flocking around Wynn’s Las Vegas properties, seeking to record his ignominious departure.
Hughes wanted to be be remembered for his contribution to aviation, but he will be forever linked to Las Vegas for buying six mob-owned casinos at a time when the U.S. government was trying to clean up Las Vegas.
Wynn will leave with a complicated legacy and inevitable comparisons to Hughes. Wynn will be remembered as a visionary for building luxury resorts at a time when Las Vegas was a gambling and entertainment capital in decline. His renovation of the Golden Nugget in the 1980s and hiring of Frank Sinatra breathed new life into downtown Las Vegas. Then, on Nov. 22, 1989, he opened the Polynesian-themed Mirage, a $630 million project. It was the largest hotel in the world at that time, with 3,044 rooms. When Hughes opened The International in 1969 it was the largest in the world. The Mirage sparked a Las Vegas revitalization, a building boom that resulted in nearly a dozen new resorts on the Strip in the 1990s and early 2000s. Correction: Kirk Kerkorian opened The International (now Westgate) in 1969. It was the largest hotel in the world.
Hughes left Las Vegas in secrecy during Thanksgiving weekend in 1970, three years after his arrival. During his stay in Las Vegas, he took up his reclusive residency in the Desert Inn, now Wynn Las Vegas.
Hughes died on April 5, 1975, at the age of 70, but looked like he was in his 80s from an opioid addiction, according to various accounts. Wynn, 76, had also lost his Hollywood good looks. Decades of plastic surgery had taken a toll. His face had become a grotesque mask in recent years.
While Hughes courted many of Hollywood’s most beautiful stars, Wynn put up the appearance of a devoted married man, making a point of opening Wynn Las Vegas on April 28, 2005, his wife Elaine’s birthday. It featured stunning waterfalls and a Lake of Dreams that regularly played Garth Brooks’ hit song “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” during the country star’s residency.
But years of rampant rumored marital infidelity blew up the week of Wynn’s 76th birthday, Jan. 27, when the Wall Street Journal reported dozens of people “recounted a pattern of sexual misconduct,” including allegations of reckless and shocking sexual harassment and coercion against the then CEO.
It was reported on Norm.Vegas on November 30 that “an explosive situation is close to breaking...with rumors for years of payoffs to silence victims of sexual harassment and abuse by gaming industry heavyweights and nightclub industry operators.”
Wynn fiercely denied the Wall Street Journal report, saying “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”
He blamed his ex-wife, Elaine, for having a role in a conspiracy to bring him down.
But he resigned as chairman and chief executive in early February and last week sold his entire stake in Wynn Resorts Ltd. as state gambling regulators investigated the scandal. He owned 12.1 million shares, which sold for about $2 billion.
Under an agreement he has to leave his residence at Wynn Las Vegas by June 1.
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