The story surrounding Steve Wynn’s recent appearance in court with charges of defamation against Joe Francis is made out of the same type of high drama that great script writers come up with for Hollywood movies. The guy who claims Steve Wynn threatened his life makes Wynn out to appear to be some type of mafia styled gangster. And, yet Forbes has reported that Wynn had hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate his previous partner, Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada. Freeh’s report claimed that Okada was in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when he gave gifts and payments worth more than $100,000 to gaming officials in the Philippines. This is clearly not the kind of profile one gets on a mafia figure.
Ashley Powers has added drama to the Steve Wynn story with a September 7 Los Angeles Times story: “Steve Wynn’s Feud with Joe Francis Enters L.A. Court.” Steve Wynn and Joe Francis, who is the “Girls Gone Wild” impresario, have been having serious trouble dealing with each since 2008.Their feud is said to have started when Wynn claimed Francis owed him money.
Powers reports this all escalated into name-calling and heated accusations involving prostitution and an alleged death threat. They each decided to meet in court. This is said to be one of four lawsuits which Wynn and Francis have filed against each other in recent years. Wynn has come out 2-0 in civil judgments, with Francis owing him at least $9.5 million.
The present case began in 2010 when Francis claimed Wynn wanted to “hit me in the back of the head with a shovel and bury me in the desert.” Wynn has testified that this is a “terrible lie,” which he feels could impugn his reputation and that of his enormous gambling empire. 70 year old Wynn says he learned lessons from his friend, the Dalai Lama, which has helped him keep his cool in court. Wynn has commented about Francis, “He’s unrepentant, vicious, out-of-control.”
Sounds like even billionaires don’t always have such a pleasant all around life. However, being wealthy and being able to afford to challenge your adversaries in court sure beats poverty wherein even if you are right you are generally looking at the streets or jails and mental institutions when this kind of real life drama arises. In the American legal system it takes a lot of money to be able to afford a shot at the type of high powered justice Steve Wynn feels he deserves in this case.