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Wynn Resorts removing Steve Wynn’s name from new casino

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Construction cranes tower over the Wynn Resorts casino site in Everett, Mass. on April 26. Massachusetts gambling regulators consider Wynn Resorts’ request to remove the name of company founder Steve Wynn, who faces numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, from its state casino license.

BOSTON >> Wynn Resorts has renamed the $2.5 billion casino it’s building outside of Boston to Encore Boston Harbor, as the company continues to take steps to distance itself from founder Steve Wynn after sexual misconduct allegations.

New CEO Matthew Maddox confirmed the long speculated change to state gambling regulators today as they considered the company’s request to remove Wynn’s name from its Massachusetts casino license.

Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO and later sold his company shares following the allegations, which he denies.

“This company is not about a man. Steve Wynn is not Wynn Resorts,” Maddox said. “Wynn Resorts is about the 25,000 employees that grow this company every day.”

Maddox said banners around the Everett waterfront site that once heralded the coming of “Wynn Boston Harbor” were being removed today and new ones bearing the “Encore” moniker also used at one of the company’s Las Vegas casinos were going up in their place.

Commission members didn’t comment on the change, which doesn’t require state approval. They’re expected to issue a decision next week on whether Steve Wynn should continue to be considered a part of the Massachusetts project for regulatory purposes.

The commission has stressed that even if Wynn’s name were removed from the company’s casino license, it would not interrupt the broader review of Wynn Resorts.

The five-member panel is investigating what the company’s board might have known about the allegations, including a $7.5 million settlement with one accuser that wasn’t disclosed when the state awarded the company a license in 2014.

A lawyer for Steve Wynn has argued that the commission no longer has jurisdiction over him because he’s a private citizen divested from “all ownership interests” in his namesake company.

Maddox outlined other ways the company is changing its corporate culture, including appointing three new women to the board of directors, providing paid parental leave, changing its sexual harassment training and creating a new department focused on gender equality, diversity and female leadership.

“Things are moving at lightning speed,” he said. “We are moving this company forward. We’re taking these issues very seriously.”

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, who attended Friday’s hearing in Boston, said the name change was the right move in light of calls from sexual assault survivors, who joined a chorus of prominent state officials in requesting it, including Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic state Attorney General Maura Healey.

“There were a lot of serious allegations made,” DeMaria said. “If those prove to be true, they’re not appropriate and a name change is in the best interests of the project.”

Gina Scaramella, head of the nonprofit Boston Area Rape Crisis Center that supports sexual assault survivors, called it a positive step forward.

“It shows that we’ve reached a tipping point in how our culture responds to sexual harassment and assault,” she said.

Wynn has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Associated Press for its reporting on a separate allegation made to police.

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