Spotlight On... Steve Wynn, founder, Wynn Resorts
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Wednesday 22 February 2012
The King of Vegas?
That's what they call him. And what he calls himself. By constantly raising the stakes in a career of business deals, Wynn has parlayed his father's modest bingo chain into an empire that controls some of the most famous properties on the Las Vegas Strip and in rival gambling centre Macau.
No shrinking violet, is he?
This is the guy who advertised his enormous Wynn Hotel in Vegas by literally shouting from the rooftop in a TV ad, and who picked the day of the Royal Wedding last year to marry his British sweetheart Andrea Hissom – at a star-studded ceremony in Vegas, natch.
Is he causing more drama?
He has got into a spat with a business partner, Kazuo Okada of Japan, with whom he developed casinos in Macau.
That'll be a clash of titanic egos, then.
Oh yes. Wynn is furious that Okada is going up against him in the battle to develop gambling in the Philippines.
Are they fighting dirty?
The pair are both invoking the US foreign corruption laws, accusing each other of paying bribes. And now the Wynn Resorts board has forced Okada to sell back his stake in the company, under rules that mean he won't get the market price or get his money for years.
The lawsuits started flying months ago, but this takes the dispute to a whole new level. But neither Wynn nor Okada are shy about using the courts.
One of Wynn's most notably fights came five years ago, after he accidentally put his fist through a $139m Picasso.
He did what?
Combine retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his vision, and his propensity to gesticulate wildly, and you have a little accident with the erotic masterpiece Le Rêve. It was able to be repaired, but the damage knocked 40 per cent off its value. Wynn sued his insurers for the money, and reached a secret settlement. The battle against Okada will be played out more publicly.
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