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Chairman: Wynn Resorts board may appear before regulators

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The chairman of the Wynn Resorts board of directors said he asked the company's CEO and full board to appear before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when it considers whether to grant the company a gambling license for a $2 billion casino and hotel set to open near Boston next year.

Board Chairman Phil Satre made the comments in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal published Wednesday. The licensing decision is on hold pending a lawsuit by former CEO and Chairman Steve Wynn to block the release of the commission's report into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Wynn denies the claims. He resigned Feb. 6, days after the Wall Street Journal reported accusations he engaged in sexual misconduct with female employees while leading the Las Vegas-based company.

Wynn attorneys sued the commission and its enforcement chief, Karen Wells, in November, arguing the Massachusetts report contains confidential information from Wynn lawyers that's protected by attorney-client privilege.

Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez has temporarily blocked the report's release. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday in Las Vegas.

Gambling regulators in Nevada also are investigating the allegations against Wynn.

After the claims came to light, shareholders filed several lawsuits against current and former board members, accusing them of breaching their fiduciary duties.

In announcing Wynn's resignation in February, the board of directors made clear it had done so "reluctantly." The board has been overhauled since then, and Matt Maddox, company president since 2013, was named CEO.

Satre said Maddox also will appear before Massachusetts regulators and credited him with being "decisive" and "well-grounded" in his response to the "crisis" that the allegations created at the company.

"Nobody moved as swiftly as this company did to take charge of the situation and react appropriately on behalf of the shareholders and on behalf of the employees and customers, and that begins with Matt Maddox," Satre said.

Eric Rose, with the California-based crisis management firm Englander Knabe and Allen, said the appearance before Massachusetts regulators of many or all members of the board, including new female board members, will show regulators "that there's a new sheriff in town."

"It's a remarkable not only public relations move, but also a shrewd business move that will demonstrate to regulators that the management team looks different and is different and they can be confident in finding the operator suitable for a license," Rose said.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com