The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a RICO lawsuit that accuses Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts, and others of bribery and attempting to corrupt the judicial process through improper influence.
Steve Wynn, pictured prior to his 2018 fall from grace. His former employee, Angela Limcaco, accuses him and Wynn resorts of racketeering. (Image: LVRJ)
Oral arguments are scheduled Dec. 6 in Long Beach, California, according to Jordan Matthews, lead counsel in the case against Wynn. That’s after the court denied Wynn’s motion to dismiss in April.
The suit was brought by former salon manager at Wynn Las Vegas Angelica Limcaco. She claims to have blown the whistle on Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct in 2005.
That’s when she told senior casino management that Wynn had sexually assaulted and impregnated one of her employees at the salon. She alleges she was subsequently bullied into silence then blackballed by her superiors at Wynn Resorts.
Limcaco originally sued her former employer in 2018, alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. That was shortly after the publication of a Wall Street Journal article alleging a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Wynn toward his female employees. Much of the article was based on Limcaco’s allegations, which Wynn denies.
That case was dismissed in April 2020 because the plaintiff had not made her claim within the statute of limitations. But it was the manner of the dismissal that prompted Limcaco to file the RICO suit later that year.
Controversially, Wynn’s lead counsel in the case, Elayna Youchah, was appointed a magistrate judge in US District Court in Nevada shortly after she filed a motion to dismiss Limcaco’s complaint.
Youchah then removed herself from the case because of the appointment. That made her a colleague of the presiding judge, Miranda M. Du. The case was dismissed shortly before Youchah began her new role.
Limcaco’s legal team discovered that Wynn Resorts had made donations to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (LACSN) around the same time the case was dismissed and Youchach was appointed.
These were “improper payments” designed to “elevate Wynn Las Vegas’ counsel to the position of a judge in Nevada District Court and to dismiss Limcaco’s case,” the lawsuit alleges.
At the time, Wynn Resorts was trying to save its gaming license in Massachusetts. The license was threatened by a state gaming commission investigation into the allegations surrounding Wynn. It was in the casino operator’s interests to make Limcaco’s allegations go away, the lawsuit claims.
Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts have a history of exerting “improper influence” over public officials, the plaintiff alleges. Her lawsuit cites efforts by the US Department of Justice to have Wynn declare himself as a foreign agent.
Chinese Agent Claim
In 2017, Wynn attempted to have the Trump administration deport a Chinese dissident who had applied for political asylum in the US. He did this while acting as an agent for the People’s Republic of China (PCR), according to a DOJ lawsuit, something Wynn denies.
The DOJ claims Wynn agreed to act for China because he believed this would protect Wynn Resorts’ business interests in Macau.
“We are pleased with the [DOJ’s] recent action against Steve Wynn, which substantiates the veracity of our claims and similarly alleges that Wynn ‘was motivated by his desire to protect his business interests in the PRC,’” said Matthews in an emailed statement to Casino.org.
The RICO case was dismissed as “highly speculative” by the district court in 2021. But the appellate panel has written that the “arguments raised in the opening brief are sufficiently substantial to warrant further consideration.”