During the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) hearing into Wynn’s suitability on Tuesday morning, it was revealed that two sexual harassment complaints had been leveled against an executive at the Everett office in 2017 and 2018.
Attorney Denise Murphy, a Boston attorney hired by the MGC to investigate Encore, reported to the Commissioners during the hearing that she was brought on to look at two complaints made at Encore since its inception and how they were handled.
On both, she said that despite having limited resources due to it being in the beginning stages of the project, the company handled the complaints very well.
The executive who was the subject of the complaints was said to have been removed from the company, with a significant reason for the removal being the two complaints.
“I think actually the company did everything right in the context of their limited resources then located in Boston,” said Murphy to the MGC. “The attorney handling the matter reached out appropriately and did everything she could to assure the victim they were in the right…”
The first complaint against the executive – who was brought in as a specialist to help open the casino – came when a female worker was disturbed when the executive massaged her from behind on the shoulders and acted awkwardly as she made airplane reservations for him on a computer.
She never reported it to anyone, but was visually disturbed in front of a male co-worker. That co-worker learned what happened and reported it to Attorney Jacqui Krum, who was the on-site attorney at the time. Krum informed executives in Las Vegas and local attorneys as well.
After looking into the executive’s background, they found no previous incidents and determined it was a “he said, she said” situation.
“They did multiple interviews,” she said. “They spoke to every single person identified by the complainant. They found the person was incredibly socially awkward, isolated, nerdy and unique. This was a special knowledge person there because he had special knowledge of how to get the job done at casinos. He had done so at multiple locations. Matt Maddox suggested him because this person had the skill set to get Encore Boston Harbor off and running. They had had a disaster before at an opening and they wanted the best possible opening for Encore Boston Harbor.”
The second complaint came in July 2018 against the same executive and another female co-worker.
In this case, just prior to the July 4th holiday, the executive and the complainant went to Starbucks for coffee. When the woman tried to pay for the coffee, the executive overrode her, putting his hand over her mouth and presenting his own credit card to pay.
The complainant was very distressed and reported the incident that same day on a supervisory call with her Las Vegas superiors. Those Las Vegas superiors then informed Attorney Krum, who with a human resources professional from Las Vegas, put their holiday plans on hold to investigate the matter immediately.
They spoke to every person and every witness identified. They spoke to the female complainant and to the executive.
The executive had been in multiple trainings for sexual harassment and workplace behavior, as well as an enhanced training.
“It became quite clear this person had no idea how bad his behavior was no matter how many times he was told,” said Murphy. “He just had no boundaries…It was a significant factor I was told in him no longer being with the company.”
Murphy said she also reviewed Encore’s policies and procedures around sexual harassment.
There were several policies and procedures that she said were not very good practices, including a policy early on that required the complainant to have to meet with the alleged harasser.
“No victim of harassment should be required to confront their employer,” she said. “That requirement is no longer there in the policy.”
She said Encore has also changed several other policies that are contrary to best practice, or against the law.