WASHINGTON, DC – Steven Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said on Monday that he was sitting on his thumbs with over a billion dollars tied up because he was unsure what government program the Obama administration would unveil next, and stressed that he was “afraid of the president.”
In an interview, Jon Ralston, host of Ralston Reports on NBC-affiliate KSNV MyNews3 in Nevada, asked Wynn: “You called him [Obama] a socialist. You called the president a socialist. And you used this memorable phrase that business leaders quote, ‘were sitting on their thumbs until he’s gone.’ But they’re not really. I mean, you’re not — you haven’t been doing that?”
“Yes I have,” Wynn said.
Ralston: “You haven’t done a thing? You haven’t –”
Wynn: “Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Because I’m lucky, and I’m in business in Macau, I brought $100, or $150 or $200 million back and invested it in redoing the hotel [in Vegas] for $100 million, building new beach clubs and doing things like that and giving my employees cost of living increases, even when the place was losing money. Because I’m very lucky that we have a very conservative approach to business. We don’t believe that just because the economy jumps up and down that we should be bouncing our employees around. That’s no way to run a business.”
Ralston: “And you didn’t amass debt like a lot of the other companies did either, which helped, right?”
Wynn: “We were talking about the sitting on the thumbs remark, which I’m doing right now, which means keeping the bankroll in your pocket. I did what I had to protect my employees in Las Vegas and to protect my service levels from my existing customers. But you know that for the last 45 years I’ve always been in construction in Nevada.”
Wynn then explained that a pair of troubled business men in Vegas came up to him with a business proposal to renovate a property of theirs and turn it into a new hotel and they’d call it the Wynn Plaza. He was all for it but decided to scrap it because of uncertainty about what steps the federal government might take against businesses.
When asked what happened to the proposal, Wynn said he was unsure what President Obama would do next.
“I’m afraid of the president,” said Wynn. “I have no idea what goofy idea, what crazy, anti-business program this administration will come up. I have no idea. And I have to tell you, Jon, that every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks.”
The hotel tycoon claimed that President Obama had attempted to put himself between him and his employees by resorting to class warfare, and said he cannot stand being the target of demagoguery from someone who doesn’t understand the economy or “hasn’t created any jobs.”
“The president is trying to put himself between me and my employees,” said Wynn. “By class warfare, by deprecating and calling a group that makes money ‘billionaires and millionaires who don’t pay their share.’ I gave 120 percent of my salary and bonus away last year to charities, as I do most years.”
He continued: “I can’t stand the idea of being demagogued, that is, put down by a president who has never created any jobs and who doesn’t even understand how the economy works.”
Earlier on the show, Wynn boasted of creating 250,000 jobs in Nevada, which he said was 250,000 more than the president had created.