Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Steve and Elaine Wynn Getting Divorced, Again? High Asset Divorce an Understatement for Billionaire Las Vegas Casino Mogul and Wife's Split

Article Placeholder Image
By Admin on March 11, 2009 10:52 AM

Casino magnate Steve Wynn and his wife Elaine are heading toward divorce, according to an AP report. Michael Sommermeyer, a Clark County court spokesman, told the AP that "divorce papers were filed March 5 and sealed by a judge the same day." The sealing of the case would keep the case out of the private eye, should it remain sealed throughout the proceedings.

Steven Wynn, 67, and Elaine, 66, were college sweethearts who originally married in 1963, but these aren't the first rough marital waters the couple have sailed considering the Wynns got a divorce in 1986 and remarried five years later.

The pair's divorce could raise a host of thorny issues with regards to marital assets and the Las Vegas casino company, Wynn Resorts, Ltd. Most people are aware that Steve Wynn is the chief executive of the company, which the AP noted "reported $210.2 million in net income for 2008." What they might not be aware of is that Elaine Wynn also happens to be a director on the company's board.

The company, however, is keeping mum for the most part and "told the AP that the company does not comment on the Wynns' personal matters", and "Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne said only that Elaine Wynn is an 'active board member' of the company." Aside from her status as a board member, however, the AP noted that she is also a significant shareholder:

"According to data compiled from Securities and Exchange Commission documents by 10K-Wizard, Steve and Elaine Wynn each own more than 24 million shares in Wynn Resorts ... each worth more than $468 million at Tuesday's market close..."

As a result, "[i]t was not clear how a split could potentially affect the company, which is focused on opening the $700 million Encore Macau casino in 2010, along with operating its existing resorts amid a difficult economic climate."

Interestingly, a January 2009 article in the American Bar Association's ABA Journal monthly publication noted how the recession and, particularly, the shaky financial markets (as of Tuesday's close, Wynn Resorts shares are nearly 84 percent off their 52-week high) are prompting many high net worth couples to split or to seek modifications of prior divorce settlements. The author noted how the head of one law firm's family and matrimonial practice has been advising clients that, because the value of many individuals' and couples' assets is so much lower these days, now would be the time to seek a divorce or a modification to a divorce settlement.

On the other hand, any such speculation as to the timing or motivation for the divorce may be entirely fruitless. The AP piece noted a far more commonplace possible trigger for the Wynns' divorce, as "the Wynns have been dogged since January by tabloid reports that Steve Wynn had fallen for another woman."