Back in June 2023, we shared exclusively Wynn Las Vegas was poised to file a lawsuit against Fontainebleau Las Vegas for poaching talent, technically “interfering with Wynn’s employment contracts.”

At the time, an agreement was reached where Fontainebleau promised to refrain from soliciting Wynn Las Vegas employees. According to Wynn, that agreement has been “breached repeatedly” so Wynn has filed suit against the beautiful but beleaguered $3.7 billion Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

The lawsuit is just the kind of Las Vegas resort drama we abhor, and by that we mean love, so let’s dive in.

“Versus” is often abbreviated as “vs.” It means “against.” Sometimes, “vs.” is abbreviated as “v.” If you try abbreviating “v.,” you are likely to sprain your groin.

In the legal complaint filed on Feb. 29, 2024, Wynn Resorts lays out its main sources of ire in a short introduction.

Basically: 1) Fontainebleau was warned repeatedly they needed to curb their enthusiasm for Wynn employees, 2) at least one Fontainebleau rep tried poaching Wynn employees while staying at Wynn (not unlike the time the Biker Bandit robbed Bellagio, then checked into Bellagio and played craps on the same table he’d robbed), 3) Wynn says “Fontainebleau’s conduct is demonstrative of an unhealthy obsession with everything Wynn” and 4) Wynn’s hand was forced, lawsuit filed.

That’s right, Wynn just accused Fontainebleau of what amounts to stalking.

Repeated, check. Outrageous, check. Brazen, check. Unhealthy obsession, check.

The lawsuit provides a glimpse into how casinos protect their primary asset: People. And dopamine, but mostly people.

The lawsuit explains, “Wynn Las Vegas requires its executive-level employees to agree to a non-competition provision that precludes the employee, during their employment term, from accepting similar employment with a Wynn Las Vegas competitor.”

In addition, “The executive employment agreements also include a non-solicitation provision that precludes employees, during their employment term, from soliciting other Wynn Las Vegas employees to leave Wynn Las Vegas to take employment with a Wynn Las Vegas competitor.”

Wynn claims Fontainebleau has been trying to poach its executives since mid-2022.

According to Wynn, Fontainebleau tried to do an end run by claiming pilfered employees would be working at Fontainebleau’s Miami location. Wynn Resorts wasn’t born yesterday, stating in the lawsuit, “But, on information and belief, this was a facade meant to hide the direct competition only temporarily until the non-competition provisions expired.”

Translation: This crap might fly in Miami, but Vegas ain’t Miami, as Fontainebleau Las Vegas has learned on the daily since it opened on Dec. 13, 2023.

Wynn Las Vegas doesn’t shy away from naming names in the lawsuit: “Indeed, Fontainebleau’s General Counsel, Mike Pappas, has been duplicitously involved in this interference. Specifically, Pappas negotiated directly with Wynn Las Vegas’ counsel after the first such instances of contractual interference, agreeing to cease the tortious conduct. Yet, as is the subject of the instant Complaint, Pappas was instrumental in Fontainebleau’s latest interference.”

Also mentioned in the lawsuit is David Snyder, one time V.P. of Culinary Operations and Restaurant Development for Wynn Resorts.

Snyder agreed to Wynn’s non-competition provision and also agreed to not solicit Wynn Las Vegas employees once he left the company. Not only did Fontainebleau poach Snyder, according to the lawsuit, Snyder then started soliciting Wynn employees. Wynn was granted a restraining order to try and prevent further solicitation, but once again Fontainebleau allegedly tried a workaround of using a recruiting agency to filch a Wynn employee.

At this point in the lawsuit, you can pretty much hear heads at Wynn exploding. Lawsuits should be able to include A.I. images, at least as attachments.

Cue our cancelation because all the executives pictured with their heads exploding are male.

The lawsuit continues with specific allegations, including Snyder trying to poach Wynn Las Vegas Dim Sum Executive Chef Sandy Shi. Once again, the Shi hit the fan, and Wynn’s CEO Craig Billings reached out to Fontainebleau CEO Jeff Soffer to discuss the perceived breach of their agreement. Soffer said, “Snyder’s solicitation of Ms. Shi was an inadvertent mistake that would be corrected.”

Honestly, we hate reading legal documents, even (and especially) when we are the subject of them, but this lawsuit is a real page-turner.

The lawsuit also mentions Brian Kenny, a former Wynn Executive Sous Chef, who tried to woo Chef Corey Francis to Fontainebleau.

Please insert an awkward “Sue Chef” joke here, we can’t do everything.

The laundry list of alleged shady activity continues with the tale of Brett Mufson, President of Fontainebleau Development, and David Grutman of Groot Hospitality, attempting to poach Wynn’s V.P. of Nightlife, Ryan Jones. Big no-no, even if Jones was offered a gig at Groot, as that company oversees Fontainebleau’s restaurants and nightlife venue, LIV.

Wynn tosses this gem into the lawsuit, “Exemplifying Fontainebleau’s infatuation with Wynn, this offer occurred at a meeting on Wynn Las Vegas property, at the Wynn Tower Suite Bar.”

Next up, Wynn’s former Executive Pastry Chef, Patrice Caillot, tried to poach Wynn’s Pastry Chef Vivian Lam.

Fontainebleau also lured away Wynn’s Garde-Manger Executive Chef Michael Verno. On his way out, he mentioned Snyder and Kenny had offered him the position of General Manager and Banquet Chef at Fontainebleau.

Today we learned a “garde-manger” is a chef in charge of cold food.

Happy? Related: We’re all doomed.

Wynn also alleges Michael Waltman, the Senior Vice President of Nightlife at Fontainebleau, tried to get Wayne Crane, Wynn’s Executive Director of Talent and Wynn Nightlife, to jump ship for a big bump in pay. Fontainebleau’s employment agreement came via e-mail from Mike Pappas, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for Fontainebleau Development. Crane stayed at Wynn, but at a substantial cost to Wynn Resorts.

Starting to see a pattern here? Clearly, Wynn does, and it’s bringing receipts, as our fellow youths say. In old-timey movie terms, Wynn Resorts is mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.

We are not a lawyer, but it appears Wynn is going hard with its claims of “Tortious Interference.” Which, coincidentally, was the name of our band in high school.

Our first album didn’t meet expectations. By that we mean it resulted in zero groupies.

You can bet we’ll be watching this lawsuit closely and we’re curious to hear what Fontainebleau says in response to the Wynn Resorts legal action. We reached out to Fontainebleau, but haven’t heard back yet.

We love Fontainebleau, but some of its practices give off a vibe of desperation, with lapses in integrity and good judgment thrown into the mix.

It’s worth noting Fontainebleau also has a ton of former Cosmopolitan staffers. Why no grousing or lawsuits? Let’s just say Cosmopolitan employees didn’t exactly need to be poached. There was a mass exodus when Cosmo came under new management (MGM Resorts). Not saying, just saying.

If you’d like to read the Wynn Las Vegas document filed with the court, here it is in .pdf format. Yes, we could have provided this link earlier in our story, but then you might have missed some jokes, and nobody wants that.

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