Steve Wynn Dodged Rape Suit With Bribery, Ex-Worker Says
December 17, 2020
A former salon manager at the Wynn Las Vegas resort accused the company’s former lead counsel, ex-Jackson Lewis partner Elayna Youchah, of helping to bribe federal officials in an attempt to rig the outcome of her rape suit against founder Steve Wynn.
Angelica Limcaco said Wednesday in California federal court that Wynn paid off former Nevada state assembly speaker Barbara Buckley in order to help sway the results of her suit, which was dismissed after the court determined the statute of limitations on her claims had expired.
Buckley, who currently serves as executive director at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, was selected to the merit selection panel that appointed Youchah to her current role as a Nevada magistrate judge, a proceeding that occurred simultaneously with Youchah’s recent filing of a motion to dismiss Limcaco’s suit, she said.
Limcaco claimed that because Wynn made a number of donations worth hundreds of thousands to the LACSN, Buckley helped assure that Youchah was appointed as a magistrate judge, a decision Limcaco said influenced the decision to dismiss her claims because it gave Youchah extra credibility in the eyes of the judge overseeing the case.
“The RICO defendants have an established pattern of engaging in conduct where ‘donations’ are used to influence official decisions and, specifically, where payments and other illicit behavior is used for the purpose of obtaining and retaining casino licenses,” Limcaco said in her complaint.
Limcaco’s original suit, first filed in 2018, stems from a 2005 incident in which she claimed Wynn raped and impregnated her. Upon reporting the incident, Limcaco said she was told by superiors to keep quiet and was threatened, being told “Steve Wynn was more powerful than the police and had bodies buried in the desert.”
After bringing her concerns about other sexual assault claims against Wynn during a meeting with then-chief operating officer Andrew Pascal, Limcaco said she was terminated immediately and forced to declare bankruptcy as a result.
Following the suit’s 2019 dismissal, Limcaco appealed to the Ninth Circuit, who affirmed the lower court’s decision in June, agreeing her claims were untimely.
Limcaco also claimed that because Wynn was on the verge of opening a $2.6 billion casino in Boston soon after her suit was dismissed, the company had a financial interest in keeping her quiet — as a ruling in her favor could jeopardize the entire project.
“The defendants ultimately intended to use these illicit efforts to assist in salvaging the gaming licenses in Massachusetts, as a favorable ruling in the Nevada matter could have further opened the floodgates on litigation against the company and could have threatened the company’s financial standing,” Limcaco said.
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Act, any entity seeking a casino license can’t conduct business with criminal backgrounds, with similar laws existing in Las Vegas and other areas where Wynn operates.
Along with the sexual assault allegations against Wynn, who ended up resigning as CEO in 2018, Limcaco said the company was hiding a number of other connections with shady characters, including business with the Sicilian Mafia in Boston and allegations brought by casino billionaire Kazuo Okada, who said Wynn was involved in a casino bribery scandal in Macau.
The Nevada bribery was just one of many efforts Wynn made to preserve the Massachusetts approval, Limcaco said. Prior to her suit’s filing, she said Wynn’s resignation as CEO, the settlement of the Okada bribery claims and departure of former general counsel Kim Sinatra were all efforts to clean up the company’s reputation.
“The allegations are laid out in detail in Ms. Limcaco’s complaint,” Jordan Matthews, who represents Limcaco, told Law360 in an emailed statement. “After thorough investigation, we look forward to vigorously litigating the matter.”
Wynn, Sinatra and current CEO Matthew Maddox, along with the company, were hit with three RICO claims, and Limcaco is seeking nearly $1 million in damages to cover the salary lost as a result of her termination along with attorney fees paid for the previous legal proceedings.
A representative for Wynn Resorts declined to comment Thursday.
Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available Thursday.
The suit is Limcaco v. Wynn et al., case number 2:20-cv-11372, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
“The Story You Just Told Us…You Left A Lot Out…” (11 secs)
“You’re not even a good liar, dude…” (15 secs)
That’s not just First48 – That’s the Eleventh Circuit Panel in Case 19-13015.
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) December 17, 2020