One of the key higher-ups helping to open the Encore Boston Harbor facility in Everett was once the director of operations in Wynn Las Vegas – overseeing the spa services – and was at the center of three complaints regarding the now-infamous ‘sensual massage’ requests from Steve Wynn and his new wife.
Brian Gullbrants is the executive vice president of operations at Encore, coming in 2017 and making his public debut to Everett at a community meeting in May 2018 at the Connolly Center.
Gullbrants transferred in from Las Vegas at the time, and according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) – just months before opening – the key executive here is still operating on a temporary employee license from the state.
Elaine Driscoll, spokesperson for the MGC, said Gullbrants is not a qualifier as CEO Matt Maddox is, but he is required to be approved for an employment license. She said that license was delayed some time when he first came to Massachusetts because of his involvement in the investigation.
Now, he is still operating on a temporary license.
“He currently has a temporary license, which isn’t unusual,” she said. “That does happen from time to time at all properties in Massachusetts. Beginning when he came to Encore there was a delay on the status of his temporary license given he was a witness in the suitability review…Because of that his temporary license was delayed.”
She said he will continue to have that license until the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau determines otherwise.
“At this point, he continues to have a temporary license status,” she said. “Once the Commission has finalized the overall suitability review, the IEB will likely review his temporary status.”
That may or may not happen before the Encore opens in June and Gullbrants is front and center in overseeing the operations.
Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver said they have full confidence in Gullbrants and his ability to help make Encore Boston Harbor into the five-star destination that has come to be expected in Las Vegas.
“All employees are initially temporarily licensed,” said Weaver. “We are completely comfortable Brian will be fully approved by the MGC when they believe it is appropriate. Brian was responsible for Wynn and Encore Las Vegas achieving its legendary Five-Star status and we believe he and his team will do the same for Encore Boston Harbor.”
In the IEB investigation revealed last week, Gullbrants was interviewed about some incidents with Steve Wynn at the spa. Gullbrants recounted two incidents at first, but later – when pushed by investigators – recalled there was a third as well.
The first involved Steve Wynn asking for a towel to cover him during spa sessions rather than a sheet, which is the protocol.
“Mr. Gullbrants stated that to his understanding, the preference for towel draping did not involve any nude exposure and was the type of request that could be accommodated for a VIP guest, so long as it did not break the rules and was not wrong,” read the report. “Nevertheless, Mr. Gullbrants called Mr. (Maurice) Wooden about it. He also checked in with the director out of concern for spa staff, to make sure they felt safe.”
The second complaint was what has now become the infamous ‘sensual massage’ request by Steve Wynn and his current wife in 2016.
“To Mr. Gullbrants, this was not okay,” read the report.
Though he did not report the matter to Human Resources, he said he felt that telling Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden had satisfied the requirement.
Later, however, when the IEB interviewed Gullbrants a second time, he was told that there were more than two incidents. That’s when he recalled more details about the towel issue and Steve Wynn exposing himself to spa workers by allowing the towel to fall off of him – that due to the fact that he did not use the required sheet.
“He further indicated that he thought of this most recent incident as serious and more than simply a towel vs. sheet preference for Mr. Wynn and that was articulated to Mr. Wooden in the call,” read the report. “Mr. Gullbrants thought to himself as he called Mr. Wooden, ‘Holy crap, this is crazy.’ He told Mr. Wooden, ‘We had this draping issue before, well here it is again and now there’s something else and I think it’s weird. Like, this is not good.’
“He stated that Mr. Wooden’s response was, ‘Yeah, oh (expletive deleted), this is not good,’” continued the report.
Gullbrants told investigators he didn’t check to see what official things were done about the matter, but Wooden had told him he would take care of it, and he let it rest with that.
Gullbrants will be in charge of most hotel and amenity operations at Encore Boston Harbor when it opens.