Wynn Resorts Escalates Legal Battle Against Fontainebleau

Wynn Las Vegas has taken legal action against Fontainebleau, requesting a Clark County District Court judge to intervene and halt what they claim is the ongoing poaching of their executives by the rival resort.

Wynn’s Legal Filing Claims Fontainebleau Tempts Executives with Salary Boosts

In a recent court filing, Wynn attorneys outlined allegations that Fontainebleau has been actively enticing Wynn executives, who are bound by noncompete agreements, to abandon their positions and join the competitor, reported The Las Vegas Review-Journal. The motion, submitted on April 5, detailed instances where Fontainebleau allegedly offered substantial salary increases to lure Wynn employees away.

The motion asserted that Fontainebleau had repeatedly interfered with and attempted to interfere with Wynn’s employment agreements. It further argued that given Fontainebleau’s past behavior, it is likely to continue such practices, hence the request for an injunction to prevent further disruption of contractual relationships.

This legal tussle began at the beginning of March when Wynn initially filed a lawsuit against Fontainebleau. The complaint alleged persistent efforts by Fontainebleau to convince Wynn employees to switch sides.

The ongoing lawsuit later escalated with the submission of a response from Fontainebleau, including correspondence between the CEOs of both companies, revealing discussions about alleged attempts by Fontainebleau to attract Wynn executives.Β 

Executive’s Involvement Shapes Wynn-Fountainebleau Legal Battle

One such employee mentioned in the Wynn Las Vegas filing is Wayne Crane, a senior executive director of entertainment for Wynn Nightlife. According to the motion, Crane, who had been with Wynn for over a decade, was approached by Michael Waltman, senior vice president of nightlife at Fontainebleau. Waltman allegedly suggested Crane was undervalued at Wynn and discussed potential opportunities at Fontainebleau, including a significant salary increase.

Crane, although content at Wynn, expressed openness to new prospects, particularly if accompanied by a substantial pay raise. Fontainebleau reportedly offered Crane nearly double his current salary and proposed a workaround for the noncompete clause by assigning him to their Miami branch while allowing him to oversee operations in both Miami and Las Vegas from Nevada.

Crane eventually accepted Wynn’s counteroffer of a new three-year contract with substantially increased pay. This turn of events underscores the intensifying competition for talent in the Las Vegas hospitality industry.

While noncompete clauses are not prohibited in Nevada, legal experts speculate on whether this lawsuit might prompt a reevaluation of such contractual agreements in the state.Judge Mark Denton of Clark County’s business court is expected to rule on Wynn’s request for a preliminary injunction within the next month, marking a pivotal moment in this legal battle between two major players in the Las Vegas hospitality sector.