Casino mogul Steve Wynn denies sexual harassment report

University of Iowa vision center named for him after $25M gift

(File photo) The audience applauds Steven Dezii (left) and Steve Wynn at a commemoration ceremony for the naming of the University of Iowa Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research and the Steven W. Dezii Translational Vision Research Facility on Oct. 18, 2013, in Iowa City. Wynn donated $25 million to the university for the research building with a mission of preventing and curing blindness. Dezii is Wynn’s longtime business partner and director of his charitable organization. (Gazette photo)
(File photo) The audience applauds Steven Dezii (left) and Steve Wynn at a commemoration ceremony for the naming of the University of Iowa Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research and the Steven W. Dezii Translational Vision Research Facility on Oct. 18, 2013, in Iowa City. Wynn donated $25 million to the university for the research building with a mission of preventing and curing blindness. Dezii is Wynn’s longtime business partner and director of his charitable organization. (Gazette photo)

Billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn strongly denied a report Friday in the Wall Street Journal that he had sexually harassed and assaulted women for years.

“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” Wynn said in a statement to Reuters.

Wynn Resorts shares were down about 8.5 percent to $183.56 in afternoon trading after the article appeared.

The Journal reported that one case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Wynn blamed his former wife for orchestrating a smear campaign against him, However, according to the AP, the Journal sought out more than 150 people who had worked for Wynn in researching the story.

While Wynn is most famous for helping rebuild the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s and serving as finance chair of the Republican National Committee, he was received with acclaim in 2013 after making a $25 million contribution to the University of Iowa.

The university established the UI Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research after the businessman made the gift commitment toward the mission of preventing and curing blindness.

Wynn lost his vision from a rare inherited eye disease and thus became familiar with the university’s work and expertise in vision research.

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Edwin Stone, who directs the institute, said Wynn’s gift — which was the sixth largest in UI history at the time — has “allowed us to increase our efforts on gene therapy and stem cells grown from a patient’s skin cells,” among other things.

What is today known as the UI Wynn Institute for Vision Research began in the 1980s as an eye-disease lab, and became known as the Center for Macular Degeneration in the 1990s. In 2006, a $10 million gift from the Carver family changed its name to the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration, and that combined with the UI’s center for glaucoma research to become the Institute for Vision Research.

“Wynn’s gift allowed that to happen,” Stone has told The Gazette.

UI officials, in response to a question from The Gazette, on Friday said, “Right now, we only know what we’re reading and are following this news closely. We certainly do not condone sexual misconduct of any kind.”

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