Wynn resigns as RNC finance chair after misconduct allegations

Image: Steve Wynn speaks at a conference in Beverly Hills
Steve Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd., speaks at a conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 3, 2017. Copyright Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg via Getty Images file
Copyright Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg via Getty Images file
By Carrie Dann and Dartunorro Clark and Adam Reiss and Kristen Welker and Geoff Bennett with NBC News
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Steve Wynn, who has donated millions to the GOP, was accused of widespread misconduct by people who have worked at his Las Vegas casinos.

Steve Wynn, the billionaire casino magnate, resigned as finance chair of the Republican National Committee on Saturday following a report of widespread misconduct allegations.

Wynn, who has donated millions to the Republican Party, wasaccused sexual misconduct by people who have worked at his Las Vegas casinos, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday. The report detailed a pattern of behavior that spans decades and included accusations by employees that they were coerced by him to perform sex acts.

"Effective today I am resigning as Finance Chairman of the RNC. The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction. I thank the President for the opportunity to serve and wish him continued success," Wynn said in a statement to NBC News Saturday.

Wynn, who President Donald Trump has called "a great friend," has denied the allegations made in the Wall Street Journal article.

"The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous," Wynn, 76, said in a statement provided to NBC News on Friday. "We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits."

The board of directors of Wynn Resorts is also conducting a review and said it met Friday and formed a special committee of the board "comprised solely of independent directors" to investigate the allegations.

It is not clear who will replace Wynn, but RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement she accepted Wynn's resignation.

"Today I accepted Steve Wynn's resignation as Republican National Committee Finance Chair," she said.

President Trump spoke to McDaniel about Wynn's future aboard Air Force One while returning from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Friday, and he was apprised of the final decision before it was announced publicly on Saturday, according to sources with direct knowledge of the conversation.

After the allegations surfaced on Friday, shares of Wynn Resortssharply fell about 10 percent.

Democrats had been pressuring Republican lawmakers and organizations to sever ties with Wynn and return his donations.

"In the exact words of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, 'If you stand for treating women well and you stand for the respect of women, you shouldn't take money from somebody who treated women with the absolute highest level of disrespect,'" said Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

Singh was referring to McDaniel's past statement pressing Democrats to return donations from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

Over the years, Wynn has donated to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and President Donald Trump's inaugural committee, among other GOP lawmakers and causes, according to Federal Election Commission filings. He has also donated to Democratic causes and candidates.

However, the GOP organizations and candidates have yet to say if they plan to return any donations.

FEC records also show donations to Democrats, including Hillary For America, Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential committee, in 2015 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2000.

Doug Heye, a former RNC spokesman, tweeted Friday afternoon that Wynn "has got to go."

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer and RNC deputy finance chair, called Wynn a "great man" and did not respond directly to the allegations on Friday.

"Steve is a truly great man who has been the driving force behind the RNC finance committee," he said.

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