Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, whom Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN:US) is trying to remove from its board, won a Nevada judge’s permission to renew his request for access to the casino operator’s books and records.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, at a hearing today in Las Vegas, allowed Okada to amend an earlier request for documents, including records related to Wynn Resorts’ $135 million pledge to the University of Macau. The judge set a for June 28 hearing date to decide which, if any, documents Wynn Resorts should produce for Okada.
“If ever there were a time when a director needed inspection, it is now,” Okada’s lawyers said in a May 3 court filing. “The other directors, under the control of Mr. Wynn, and for their own financial self interest, have closed ranks against Mr. Okada.”
Okada held the largest single stake in Wynn Resorts through his Tokyo-based Universal Entertainment Corp. (6425) until February. In an escalating dispute with founder and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wynn, the company redeemed his 20 percent stake at a discount. Wynn Resorts said Okada was “unsuitable” and accused him of giving more than $110,000 in payments and gifts to Philippine gaming officials.
Okada in January sought a court order that, as a director, he was entitled to inspect Wynn Resorts’ books and records regarding last year’s pledge to the University of Macau. The judge responded by ordering Wynn Resorts to produce only two more pages of documents to Okada.
James Pisanelli, an attorney for Wynn Resorts, said at today’s hearing that Okada was trying to get records pertaining to the Las Vegas-based casino operator’s licensing process in Macau about a decade ago. Okada sought to compare his handling of Philippine officials with Wynn Resorts’ dealings with Macau officials, Pisanelli said.
“He is struggling, and grasping at straws, and hoping and praying that he can find something in the ledger, something that someone did in Macau that is like what he did in the Philippines,” Pisanelli said.
In his renewed request, Okada seeks additional documents from 2000 through 2002 regarding entertainment of and contacts with Macau officials, as well as documents explaining Wynn Resorts’ use of $120 million he invested in 2002.
Wynn Resorts filed a complaint against Okada in February, alleging that he is developing two casinos and three hotels in Manila with plans to lure “high-limit, VIP gamblers” from China in direct competition with Wynn Resorts’ casino in Macau.
Okada filed counterclaims in that case, now in federal court in Las Vegas, accusing Wynn Resorts of breach of contract and its chairman of racketeering, among other allegations. He seeks a court order voiding the redemption of his shares at an $800 million discount.
The case is Okada v. Wynn Resorts, A-12-654522-B, District Court, Clark County Nevada (Las Vegas). The federal court lawsuit is Wynn Resorts v. Okada, 12-00400, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas.)
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