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Benjamin Spillman

In lawsuit, Wynn dealers accuse chief of losing temper

28 February 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Two card dealers have filed lawsuits accusing Steve Wynn of losing his temper and launching into a tirade during a meeting with employees to discuss a new tip-sharing policy at Wynn Las Vegas.

Cynthia Fields and Tynisia Boone filed the lawsuit in Clark County District Court.

An attorney for Wynn said he will fight the lawsuit. Boone and Fields declined to comment, and Sharon Nelson, the Las Vegas attorney representing the women, did not return a call for comment.

The lawsuits each seek damages exceeding $10,000 for personal and emotional injury and pain and suffering.

The lawsuits are in addition to charges the women filed with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Wynn Las Vegas of intimidating, disciplining and firing people who spoke out against changes to the tip policy.

"Those suits have no merit," said attorney Gregory Kamer of the Las Vegas law firm Kamer Zucker Abbott, who is defending Wynn. "And they will be defended vigorously."

According to the lawsuits, Wynn lost his temper during an Oct. 30 meeting of about 15 dealers and several executives from Wynn Las Vegas. The meeting included a discussion about a company decision to add supervisors to the pool of people who share dealers' tips.

The policy change was controversial because dealers said it would reduce their earnings as much as 20 percent. It drew protests in front of Wynn Las Vegas by dealers at other casinos and their families who feared other companies would follow Wynn's lead.

Wynn executives said the change was justified because dealers at the upscale resort were earning more money than their supervisors, creating an imbalance that made it it difficult to recruit supervisors.

During the meeting, the lawsuits allege, Wynn lost his temper after one of the dealers suggested there were ways to increase the pay for supervisors without diluting the tip pool.

The lawsuits say Wynn "slammed his fists so hard on the table that water glasses fell to the floor."

They go on to say that Fields tried to explain she was a single mother and would be "severely negatively affected" by the policy change.

" ... Wynn became even more enraged, began to gesture wildly at (Fields) and yelled in her face that he was 'the most powerful man in Nevada' " and said all 600 dealers were replaceable, according to the lawsuits.

Fields was later dismissed and protested the dismissal with the NLRB, which hasn't issued a ruling. Boone's lawsuit says she received unwarranted discipline and a suspension. She also protested to the NLRB.