The Wynns, and what they may not want us to know
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
May 2, 2005
Steve and Kenny Wynn
LAS VEGAS - Its the talk
of the town
! The first mega-resort to open on the Strip in five
years. "Wynn Las Vegas" opened its $2.7 billion dollar doors at
midnight Wednesday to thousands of starry-eyed people who waited hours
to get a first glimpse at what Steve Wynn called the most expensive
hotel in the world.
But, who is this Wynn guy?
Most know him as the creator of the Golden Nugget, Mirage, Treasure
Island, and Bellagio hotels in Las Vegas. However, there may be more to
"The strong inference that can be
drawn from the new intelligence is
that Stephen Wynn, the President of GNI
(Golden Nugget, Inc.), has been operating under the
aegis of the Genovese family since he first went to Las Vegas in the
1960s to become a stockholder in the New Frontier Casino."
"It must be said that some of the
data supporting this view, taken on
its own, is not conclusive. However, the connections are so numerous
and significant that it would be impossible to accept coincidence as a
"It has been alleged by a
confidential informant that Wynn's late
father, Michael Wynn formerly Weinberg, ran his bingo parlour in
Maryland under the auspices of Anthony 'Fat Tony' Selerno, then a
member and now one of the ruling triumvirate of the Genovese family."
These are the purported, almost forgotten words
Detective Chief Inspector Sparks and Detective Constable Summers of the
Criminal Investigation Department of New Scotland Yard in a September
9, 1983 Special Report to their Superintendent regarding the fitness
of Steve Wynn for a license to operate a proposed casino in Great
Though antiquated by modern standards, the "Scotland Yard
" did result in the refusal of the Gaming Board of Great
Britain to grant Wynn a license, and the words contained in that faded
Report could reverberate in future years.
After the Report's findings were revealed, as a courtesy the Board
scheduled a consultation
to inform Mr. Wynn in advance of the pending denial, and offer him time
to withdraw his application.
"In the intervening period between
the consultation on 19th February, 1982 and the Board's decision the
26th February, 1982, the solicitors acting for Golden Nugget sought
permission to withdraw their application rather than have it refused."
"...Golden Nugget were obliged to inform the New York Stock Exchange if
their application were refused which would, no doubt, have had some
effect on the corporation's share price..."
Subsequently, the application was withdrawn and the New York Stock
Exchange was not obligingly informed. Wynn never again attempted to
obtain a gaming license in Great Britain,
possibly because of the Report's inclusion of a New Jersey Division of
Gaming Enforcement document
indicating three areas of concern:
"(1) Questionable stock option
transactions: (2) Stephen Wynn's association with 3
individuals, Louis Cappiello, Neil Assinaro and Michael Jones:
(3) Stephen Wynn's alleged use of cocaine."
Cappiello, Assinaro, and Jones were known drug traffickers whom
Wynn gave executive positions at the Golden Nugget.
Also in the Scotland Yard Report was a flow chart
that included well known persons who today cause even more concern
about Wynn's meteoric rise to prominence.
Long time Vegas residents will immediately recognize the names of Joe
Agosto, Ash Resnick, the Doumani
, Tony Spilotro, and Joey
on the flow chart. Keep in mind this chart was created
years before the movie "Casino" where Spilotro was played so well by
Joe Pesci, or before the beginning of the Crazy
strip club federal racketeering investigation that may
name Cusumano as one of the major players.
The chart also names the late Charles Meyerson, Wynn's well known
junketeer who never bothered to obtain a Key Employee License. Meyerson
was a friend of Wynn's father and stood close by Steve throughout his
career. However in 1993, Meyerson almost caused Wynn to implode.
A lead story on the six o'clock KLAS
TV Channel 8 News
followed the next morning by the front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal
the arrest of eight purported Five Family members as they were about to
board a plane out of McCarran International Airport. According to the RJ
stories authored by John L.
Smith and Jon Ralston, the men were arrested for being ex-felons who
did not register at the local police station when they arrived in town.
However, they did allegedly register as the "McCoys" when they were
comped to high roller suites at the Mirage by Mr. Meyerson. The going
joke around the hotel was that they were the "Real McCoys," i.e., capos
in mob families that were being wined and dined by Wynn, et. al. This
caused the Sheriff to go ballistic, especially at a time when Vegas was
trying to clean up its mob reputation.
After the arrests, Wynn threatened to sue then-Clark County Sheriff
John Moran and several high ranking Metro detectives. Moran fired back
by demanding that Meyerson apply for a Key Employee License with the
Nevada Gaming Commission. Both men did neither, but the feud became a
Sin City legend.
I became inadvertently involved when I invited Smith and Ralston to
appear on my national radio talk show, and according to Wynn, killed
his billion dollar planned casino in Hartford, Connecticut. After
telling the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, "I offered to help your state, but instead
you listened to that lunatic Steve Miller,"
to sue me for defamation along with my co-host Russ Driver, producer,
and all the stations that carried "The Steve Miller Open Line," though
the story we told was copyrighted by Channel
and the RJ
aired it. The only difference was that their signal and readership did
not extend into Connecticut, and mine did.
Wynn obviously wanted to kill the "Real McCoy" story, especially in
venues he planned for future casino projects. An offer was made to me
by Wynn's lawyers. If I would cancel my program, he would not proceed
with his lawsuit. I immediately went off the air, but that didn't stop
the controversy. The
had already gone national and soon I was being interviewed by
from Chicago and Vancouver, B.C. where Wynn had casinos on the
drawing board. Those projects also failed to be licensed, and I was
named as the person responsible for their demise. I began to feel like
Strangely though, the story was completely blacked out in Vegas.
Then Wynn sued John L. Smith who authored a book
that included excerpts from the Scotland Yard Report.
The times were not going so well for Steve. In addition to hating his
unauthorized biography, he had just convinced the mayor to build
what later would become the ruination of Downtown Las Vegas -- a canopy
covering historic Fremont Street. Hand picked to head the $73 million
dollar public works project was Steve's brother Kenny.
Just before he started the tax funded project, Kenny Wynn was
testify before a grand jury in a high profile drug case. He publicly
admitted a drug abuse problem, paid a $10,000 fine and surrendered his
gaming license for a year. But that didn't stop then-Mayor Jan Jones
from ceremoniously awarding Kenny the reigns to the canopy project they
coined "The Fremont Street Experience." She did so without
disclosing she held
in Golden Nugget/Mirage resorts and stood to personally
benefit if the canopy idea caught on.
The "Experience" became a light and sound show disaster that, when it
blasts off each hour, draws gamblers from the slots and tables into the
street. Now several years later, we know why casinos don't have clocks,
nothing ever happens outside any casino that might cause distraction to
gamblers inside. The gross gaming revenues in Downtown went flat after
the canopy opened, and stayed that way ever since.
Steve Wynn, after building the Golden Nugget into one of Vegas' hottest
spots, must have seen the writing on the wall (or canopy), and soon
sold the place. After Wynn abandoned Downtown, other nearby casinos
went dark or were sold at bargain prices. Steve had experienced
another failed project with Fremont Street Experience, though he
and Jones never accepted responsibility.
A few years later, Steve flexed his political muscle to
Bill No. 521,
a Nevada law that gave him a tax loophole for
his high priced casino art collection. The
break is estimated to cost taxpayers about $18 million a year and cost
local schools millions in lost tax funds.
Then Wynn's financier went to prison, but that didn't stop Steve from
continuing his "association" with "Junk Bond King" Michael Milken.
Though usually frowned upon by gaming authorities, Wynn was spotted
visiting Milken dozens of times in federal prison,
after Milken was released in 1997, Wynn and former Nevada Governor Bob
Miller attended a well publicized 4th of July dinner party at Milken's
Lake Tahoe estate.
No one in Nevada dared question whether Wynn had violated
NRS 463.170: Qualifications for license... that states: The Commission
(must be) satisfied that the applicant is: (b) A person whose prior
activities, criminal record, if any, reputation, habits and associations
(emphasis added) do not
pose a threat to the public interest of this state or to the effective
regulation and control of gaming....
I have nothing against ex-felons, but I do believe the gaming law
should be applied equally.
While Wynn cavorted openly with Milken, former Horseshoe owner Ted
Binion felt the full wrath of the Commission for associating with
another ex-felon, along with having a serious drug addiction. Binion
was seen hanging out at Club Paradise with ex-felon Herbie Blitzstein
who was a member of Nevada's Black Book. The Commission used this
association as part of the reason they yanked Binion's gaming license,
but all the while ignored the Wynn/Milken "association."
Granted, Michael Milken is not in the Black Book, but an ex-felon is an
ex-felon, and they aren't supposed to associate with gaming license
holders no matter how politically connected they may be.
Steve Wynn sold his interest in the Mirage, Treasure Island, and
Bellagio to MGM Grand in 2000 for $6.4 billion, most of which
to his investors. Then the Nevada Legislature conveniently relaxed
foreign investment in Nevada casinos and loosened rules requiring full
disclosure of who those investors
are. After the law was suddenly changed, Wynn began spending time in
the Orient, and a bunch of Legislators found the funds to run for
reelection or higher office.
Within the next two years, Kenny Wynn, who
owns 1.2 million
shares worth $24.7 million in the project, was announced
of construction on his brother's new Wynn Las Vegas resort, and Steve
became a Buddhist
But his days of meditation
were rudely interrupted.
On February 25, 2004, Kenny was
served with a search warrant at his home in connection with a child
No information has ever been made public on the child porn
investigation -- though the results should be of interest to Nevada
gaming authorities since Kenny owns so much stock and serves in an
excutive position at Wynn Las Vegas.
Kenny's court records on
any drug problems
were also sealed in 1993.
I don't want to rain on Steve's parade or that of his
investors (whoever they may be),
but the public deserves to know the above information, especially that
contained in official Scotland Yard and New Jersey reports that
have now become public records.
I'm also told that had I not revealed the "Real McCoy"
to officials in states where Wynn had grandiose plans, he would
probably have spent all the money there instead of building the
Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas resorts here.
Steve Wynn is truly a fascinating guy,
and his story needs to be fully told to appreciate his diverse talents,
connections, and background.
But let us not forget the words of
Detective Chief Inspector Sparks
and Detective Constable Summers:
"However, the connections are so numerous and significant that it would
be impossible to accept coincidence as a reasonable explanation.
Thank goodness the mob was run out of Vegas years ago!
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