Wynn Resorts Stock Plunges 9% on WSJ Report On Serial Sexual Misconduct By Steve Wynn

 Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, during a press conference in Macau, China, in August 2016. PHOTO: VINCENT YU/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, during a press conference in Macau, China, in August 2016. PHOTO: VINCENT YU/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Update Saturday Jan. 27, 2017: Steve Wynn has resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. 

Wynn Resorts stock plunged 9 percent Friday on a report by The Wall Street Journal that billionaire CEO Steve Wynn engaged in sexual misconduct for many years. The Journal reported, writes CNBC,  that dozens of current and former employees "told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct." Some described being pressured into performing sex acts with him.

In the case of a manicurist, the woman's supervisor filed a detailed report to the casino's human-resources department after the woman returned from Wynn's office sobbing, explaining that she said no and explained to Wynn that she was married. Ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex. People familiar with the incident told WSJ that Wynn paid the manicurist a $7.5 million settlement, and his lawyers have admitted that the payment was made.

In statements, Wynn denied he had ever assaulted anyone, and his company said the newspaper report reflects allegations made in court by his ex-wife "in her legal battle with him and the company." It is true that Elaine Wynn did refer to the episode in her divorce lawsuit. 

Referring to his ex-wife Elaine, Wynn said she is seeking a revised settlement of their divorce. "I have repeatedly refused to capitulate to her demands," he added. "In response, I remain focused on Wynn Resorts, our employees and our shareholders and will not be distracted from those efforts."

"It is noteworthy that although Ms. Wynn says she knew about the 2005 allegations involving Mr. Wynn in 2009, she never made them known to the board of directors, of which she was then a member, and she did not raise them until after Mr. Wynn remarried and the shareholders of Wynn Resorts voted not to elect her to the board," the statement issued to CNBC said.

The WSJ said it contacted over 150 current and former employees. The majority of those who spoke worried that talking to the media would hurt their job opportunities, citing Wynn's vast and powerful influence throughout Nevada and the casino industry.

Elaine Wynn and her legal team did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Steve Wynn donated $729,217 to the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who has called him a "great friend." Wynn also serves as the Republican National Committee's finance chairman. 

The RNC skewered the DNC for taking campaign cash from Harvey Weinstein, demanding that the tainted contributions be returned.  Following this part of the story, The Daily Beast says that numerous Democrats ended up giving their Weinstein donations to either charities or "political groups who work to elect progressive female lawmakers. " Officials like GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the actions were insufficient, writing on Twitter: If the DNC truly stands up for women like they say they do, then returning Weinstein's dirty money should be a no-brainer. The Daily Beast writes:

The RNC, which last year chose not to distance itself from another official credibly accused of sexual harassment—Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore—did not respond to a request for comment as to whether they would now do the same. Nor did Sean Spicer, the president’s former press secretary and the committee’s former top strategist, who was particularly aggressive in criticizing Democrats after the Weinstein revelations.

10 Interviews Support Sexual Harassment Allegations Against PA (R) Rep. Patrick Meehan

 Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan didn't ask Pennsylvania Republican Representative Patrick Meehan if there was any private reason outside of his position on the House Ethics committee that would prevent him from conducting an effective role in redefining how sexual misconduct claims are handled in Congress.  

Revelations that Congressman Meehan actually made a settlement with a decades younger aide in 2017 caught Speaker Ryan by surprise. AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the said that “this is new information to us” when asked about the settlement in a brief interview on Friday.

The New York Times interviewed 10 people including friends and former colleagues of the former aide and others who worked around the office. The young woman is a family friend of the Meehan's and became so demoralized by the Congressman's antagonistic behavior when she became involved with a new boyfriend, that she filed a complaint with the congressional Office of Compliance in the summer of 2017, alleging sexual harassment. The events that followed underscore why women typically don't file complaints against members of Congress. Now Meehan is theoretically empowered to change those procedures with new ones much fairer to victims. The Times writes a Rep. Jackie Speier's playbook expose. Speier's is leading the charge in Congress to reform current procedures:

The handling of that complaint — which included an aggressive pushback by representatives from Mr. Meehan’s office and congressional lawyers, who suggested she had misinterpreted the congressman’s behavior — demoralized the aide. It led to her estrangement from her colleagues, and isolation from friends, family and her boyfriend, according to the people in whom she confided. It set her back financially and professionally, as she continued to pay legal costs associated with the complaint even after leaving her job in Mr. Meehan’s office and struggling to find a new one. She moved back in with her parents and ultimately decided to start a new life abroad.

Mr. Meehan was represented in this process by two officials from his congressional office and two lawyers for the House’s office of employment counsel.

After counseling and mediation sessions mandated by the Office of Compliance, the sides reached an agreement that included a settlement and a strict nondisclosure agreement, according to people familiar with the process.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Mr. Meehan’s office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made. But people familiar with the payout said it was thousands of dollars.

Ironically, this story began with another senior aide in Rep. Mehan's office, writes The Times. Friends and office staff said that Rep. Meehan's began when the young woman complained about the relentless pursuit of her by another member of the staff. The man left the office, but then Meehan's own advances began. 

Ms. Ronickher, the lawyer for Mr. Meehan’s accuser, declined to comment on the specifics of her case. But Ms. Ronickher, who has represented multiple congressional aides who have filed sexual harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, said, “Given the proven dysfunction of the process as we have it now, it’s critical that Congress act on legislation to revise the process so that victims aren’t re-harmed when they pursue their rights.”

Meehan traveled with President Trump to a PA rally for a March 2018 special election to fill the vacated seat of Rep. Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned in October 2017 amid a sex scandal. 

BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie Resigns Over Refusal To Grant Her Equal Pay For Equal Status, Quality Work

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We have a super high-profile resignation at the BBC. China editor Carrie Gracie gave the BBC months to rectify her unequal pay -- the very condition under which she came to the BBC in the first place three decades ago. In an open letter just published, she outlines all the ways the BBC tried to get around this fundamental concept -- that a woman editor should have salary parity with men, and especially one as qualified as Gracie.

Because British taxpayers funds the BBC, Gracie writes: "I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure."

No intelligent organization would want to run the risk that Gracie would go public and resign. It IS about power when a group of men calculate that an accomplished woman with a global following won't have the nerve to walk -- and tell the whole world her story, as she slams the door behind her.

Carrie Gracie just struck a lightening bolt into this British BBC boys club with murky pay policies and dearth of fair employment principles. Anne Perkins writes Monday morning that Gracie decided to stop colluding with the BBC as an underpaid, exploited woman.

In the summer of 2017, the British government forced the BBC to publish the names of familiar radio and TV personalities earning over £150,000, along with their salaries. The results -- and obvious gender-based pay gap -- were astounding. 

This situation is no longer acceptable writes Carrie Gracie, because the BBC promotes itself as an advanced, enlightened, and egalitarian organization. In reality, it's the same boys club as the rest of the world, with a few minor exceptions. 

Her resignation letter is printed in full at The Guardian.