Wynn shareholders can vote on whether to remove Okada -Judge

Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:03pm EST
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By Sue Zeidler and Ronald Grover

Feb 15 Las Vegas (Reuters) - A federal judge allowed Wynn Resorts to hold a special shareholder meeting on Feb 22 to remove dissident shareholder Kuzuo Okada from its board, the latest twist in a year-long battle between Wynn chief executive Steve Wynn and his one-time partner and largest investor.

Federal Judge James Mahan rejected a bid by Okada to block the meeting, ruling against the Japanese investor's contention that Wynn had given its shareholders a "grotesquely slanted proxy riddled with material misrepresentations."

"I just don't think this proxy is false and misleading," Mahan ruled from the bench after an hour-long hearing.

He said Okada should have issued a counter solicitation to shareholders.

"We are disappointed and are assessing our options," said Okada's lawyer Marc Sonnenfeld. "This is just one battle in a long war."

Okada's Universal Entertainment was Wynn's largest shareholder until Feb. 18, 2012, when the board redeemed and canceled its 19.75 percent stake. In regulatory filings, Wynn said it relied on an independent report by former FBI director Louis Freeh that concluded Okada engaged in improper conduct with cash payments and gifts to Filipino gaming authorities

Okada has denied the allegations.

Last week independent shareholder proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis recommended that Wynn shareholders vote on whether to remove Okada from the board.   Continued...