Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2018

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Arguments in Wynn-Okada legal battle focus on release of records

Another chapter in the three-year legal battle between Wynn Resorts and Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada was played out before the Nevada Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Todd L. Bice, attorney for Wynn, asked the court to throw out a district court ruling that it must turn over 78 records in the pre-trial maneuvering of both sides.

Bice said there was “no factual basis” on the ruling by District Judge Elizabeth Goff Gonzalez that these records must be given to lawyers for Okada. Bice argued that there is no relevance of these records to the existing case in which Okada maintains he was forced out of the company and that his 20 percent stock was purchased at a discount rate.

Bice argued that Okada and his lawyers have a “vivid imagination” in asking for these records that are not tied to the pending suit.

But Stephen Peek, attorney for Okada, told the court the records may show that Okada was forced out of the company to protect Steve Wynn. He argued that Gonzalez has handled the suit for three years and was familiar with which records should be submitted to Okada's lawyers.

“She (Judge Gonzalez) should not be denied for doing her job,” said Peek.

The board of directors of Wynn Resorts received an investigation that said Okada and his company were involved with bribes to gaming officials in the Philippines to get a casino license in Manila. The board voted to buy out Okada’s 20 percent at a discounted rate on grounds his conduct might cost the company its gambling licenses.

Okada says Wynn made an improper $135 million donation to get a gambling license in Macau.

After the Okada buyout, Wynn Resorts filed suit to get the judicial stamp of approval on its decision. And the two sides have been in a legal battle since.

Peek said Okada was forced out of the company “because he was a threat to Mr. Wynn,” — which is why it is important to see the records of the company.

Wynn and Okada started out as partners but ended up enemies.

Bice said the disputed records go to the “bowels” of the company and do not have any ties to the pending legal action.

Peek said the records in dispute are nonprivileged and should be released.

The court took the arguments under submission and will rule later.

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