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Board seat fight deeply rooted in Wynns' divorce settlement

The divorce of Stephen and Elaine Wynn has been described as the most expensive divorce in U.S. history. It occurred in January 2010, ending 46 years together. The couple played to the media, telling all that their divorce was amicable. Ms. Wynn got half of Mr. Wynn's stake in Wynn Resorts Ltd., of which he is the chief executive and chairman. In addition, she got several pieces of real estate and her choice of pieces of a renowned art collection.

Part of the divorce agreement was that Ms. Wynn could not sell her shares in Wynn Resorts Ltd., unless Mr. Wynn agreed to the sale; however, Ms. Wynn does have a waiver that lets her sell $10 million of stock every year. In 2012, the couple returned to court after Ms. Wynn sued her ex in order to be able to sell the shares as she wanted to. That lawsuit is still ongoing and that has led to problems with the board of directors at Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Last month, the other board members voted against her insomuch as her holding a seat for another term. They also eliminated her seat. Two other directors received votes recommending they hold onto their seats.

Ms. Wynn is not only the third-largest shareholder and a co-founder, she is also the only member of the board that is not a white male. Ms. Wynn has started her own campaign, including a website, in order to appeal directly to the company's shareholders to win one of the two other seats.

The board's governance committee's chairman said that Ms. Wynn has not been able to state how her ongoing lawsuit benefits the shareholders. Her sale of the stock each year hasn't helped her cause, either.

Ms. Wynn will continue to battle for another seat on the board and to be able to sell as many shares as she wants. This is a good example of how a divorce settlement may need to be modified at a later date. An experienced family law attorney can provide more information about how to modify a divorce decree.

Source: The New York Times, "Wynn Resorts Fight Over Board Seat Has Roots in Divorce Settlement," Steve Friess, March. 23, 2015

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