Steve Wynn, Elaine Denied Court Approval to Sell Shares

(Bloomberg) -- Steve Wynn can’t drop a court fight with his ex-wife Elaine that’s blocking both of them from selling their shares in Wynn Resorts Ltd., a judge said.

The casino mogul argued that the dispute over the validity of an agreement locking up the divorced couple’s stock was moot, but a Nevada judge didn’t agree.

The ruling Friday leaves in place the six-year, three-way court battle among the casino mogul, his ex-wife and his former business partner Kazuo Okada. It preserves the status quo that has barred Elaine Wynn from controlling her $1.6 billion stake in Wynn Resorts, and it may prevent Steve Wynn from divesting part of his stake should regulators require it because of the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Nevada District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in Las Vegas said she denied Steve Wynn’s request because the validity of the stockholders agreement is too intertwined with other issues in the lawsuit, including the forced redemption of Okada’s shares six years ago.

Lawyers for Aruze USA, Okada’s former holding company, and Elaine Wynn opposed the request.

Wynn, 76, stepped down Feb. 6 as chairman and chief executive of his namesake company. Gaming regulators in Nevada, Macau and Massachusetts, where the company is building a $2.4 billion casino, have said they’re looking into the accusations, reported by the Wall Street Journal, that Wynn pressured employees at his Las Vegas resort over many years to have sex with him. He has denied the allegations.

Mark Ferrario, a lawyer for Elaine Wynn, said she wanted full and complete relief on all her claims, not just the ones Steve Wynn sought to dismiss.

“Because of his own conduct, he’s now under scrutiny,” Ferrario said at the hearing. “They are desperately trying to avoid a devastating consequence coming down from regulators.”

After his resignation, Wynn conceded that the 2010 stockholders agreement, which prevented his ex-wife from selling her shares without his permission, wasn’t enforceable. Elaine Wynn has sought a court ruling that the agreement was invalid.

Wynn, who owns 12 percent of the company’s shares, has said he has no immediate plans to sell.

The case is Wynn Resorts Ltd. v. Okada, A-12-656710-B, Clark County, Nevada, District Court (Las Vegas).

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.