A judge in Nevada on Monday temporarily blocked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from releasing its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former casino mogul Steve Wynn.
Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a temporary restraining order in the case and said she will hear arguments on whether the commission’s forthcoming report includes information and documents that Wynn’s lawyers say should be protected by attorney-client privilege and not made public, according to Mary Ann Price, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Eighth Judicial Court.
A conference call will be held Tuesday to set a date for the hearing, Price said.
Wynn sued the commission and Wynn Resorts, his former casino company, on Nov. 7. The complaint alleges that Wynn Resorts, which is building a $2.6 billion casino in Everett along the Mystic River, improperly handed over privileged documents to the commission.
Commission investigators “have conducted their months-long investigation into Wynn Resorts with total disregard for protecting the privileged communications of Mr. Wynn,” states lawsuit, filed in Clark County, Nev. “Mass Gaming officials have simply donned the judge’s robe, cracked the gavel, and unilaterally determined that Mr. Wynn has failed to sustain his burden of establishing that any privilege applies to the unknown universe of documents acquired during the Mass Gaming investigation.”
At issue are 20 pages of documents that Wynn claims are privileged, according to a court filing.
Brian Kelly, a Boston lawyer who is representing Wynn, called the judge’s order “a good decision.”
“We’ll see how the rest of the litigation plays out,” he said.
Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the commission, said “we are still awaiting the final order from the court, and we will assess all of our options at that time.” A spokesman for Wynn Resorts said “we are evaluating our options and have no comment at this time.”
The investigation has taken months longer than originally anticipated, and Wynn’s lawsuit further muddies its timetable.
The commission launched the investigation after a Wall Street Journal report in January that contained allegations of sexual misconduct against Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts and its then-chief executive. Wynn has denied assaulting any women.
The investigation is trying to determine whether Wynn Resorts is suitable to keep its casino license. It is focusing on who in the company knew about the allegations against Wynn and what, if anything, they did in response.
The commission found Wynn Resorts suitable to hold a license nearly five years ago after a background investigation into the company and its key executives and shareholders.
Wynn Resorts has taken steps to sever itself from its founder since the allegations surfaced. Wynn resigned from the company in early February, then sold his stock in Wynn Resorts and moved out of the villa he had occupied at the Wynn Las Vegas resort on the Vegas strip.
The company also brought on new board members, and dropped Wynn’s name from the Everett project. It is now called Encore Boston Harbor, after one of the chain’s existing hotel brands.
Work on the casino has continued during the investigation, and the company has said construction is on pace for a June opening. The massive complex will contain a bronze glass hotel, event space, shops, bars and restaurants, and a massive gambling room with table games, slot machines and a poker room.