RJ killed Wynn report

In a Feb. 5 report, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said it suppressed a 1998 story on sexual misconduct charges against casino figure Steve Wynn.

The 1998 story contained information alleging that a cocktail waitress was pressured into having sex with Wynn, “who said he wanted to experience sex with a grandmother, according to a court filing,” and that the Mirage Hotel—Wynn was board chair at the time—sent waitresses to sexually “accommodate” high rollers during the 1990s.

The article that failed to run was written by Carri Geer Thevenot, now metro editor, who “said she was ordered to delete the story she had written. But she saved a printout of the story, the court records from the case, the polygraph results and the $600 bill for the polygraph examinations.”

The polygraph results? The newspaper, in deciding whether to run the story, had two of Wynn’s accusers take lie detector tests, which are not scientifically valid but are often used by employers, certainly including Nevada casino corporations. The report this week did not say whether, in a meeting between Geer and RJ editors and Wynn and his lawyers, Wynn was asked to submit to lie tests.

What is especially remarkable about the RJ’s failure to run the 1998 story is that, at the time, it was shielded from liability. Eleven Mirage waitresses had sued the Mirage, and legal filings always confer legal protection on news coverage of such actions. Yet the RJ still killed the story. Last month, the Wall Street Journal finally ran such a story.