February 1, 2018 / 2:48 AM / 4 months ago

University of Iowa removing Steve Wynn's name amid misconduct claims

(Reuters) - The University of Iowa is removing Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn’s name from a vision research institute amid sexual misconduct accusations against him, the university said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO - Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The university said in a statement that it will be the first time it has removed a donor name from a building or institute. It said the change is subject to board and state approval.

The facility, part of the university’s Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, was named for Wynn in 2013 in recognition of his commitment to give $25 million toward research on a cure for hereditary blindness, the university said.

It will now be called the Institute for Vision Research, officials said.

FILE PHOTO - School mascot Herky the Hawk stands in front of the Old Capitol Museum at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa, U.S. May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Koh Gui Qing

The naming of the institute was not a condition of the gift, the university noted. Wynn has donated $20 million so far, which has increased the institute’s research scope, the university said.

Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O) spokesman Michael Weaver declined comment.

    Nevada state regulators have opened an investigation into sexual misconduct accusations by former and current employees against Wynn, Karl Bennison, enforcement chief for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said in an email to Reuters.

    The allegations were reported by The Wall Street Journal last week. The newspaper reported that a $7.5 million settlement was paid in 2005 to a manicurist who said Wynn forced her to have sex with him. Reuters has not independently confirmed the allegations against Wynn.

    The billionaire founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts has denied the allegations as “preposterous” and accused his ex-wife of instigating them for her own gain in litigation against him and his company. His former spouse, Elaine Wynn, has denied through her lawyer that she did any such thing.

    Wynn is building a casino in Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now reviewing the license granted to a Wynn Resorts subsidiary, commission documents said.

    During a meeting on Wednesday regarding the allegations against Wynn, Karen Wells, the commission’s head of investigations and enforcement, said a $7.5 million settlement was not previously disclosed to investigators, according to her statement posted online.

    Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Leslie Adler

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