LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Wynn Las Vegas is sick of Fontainebleau’s attempts to hire away its people — from Wynn’s executive chefs to two executives in its nightlife department.

A lawsuit filed on Feb. 29 offers a look inside a corporate war for leaders in the Las Vegas luxury game. Fontainebleau Las Vegas is accused of ignoring its previous agreements as it sought to poach valuable employees, at times enticing them to violate their employment contracts with Wynn. A pattern of interference is traced to events that started in mid-2022, a year and a half ahead of Fontainebleau’s opening on Dec. 13, 2023.

“Repeated and outrageous attempts” by Fontainebleau — some that allegedly took place on Wynn’s property — follow a previous lawsuit. According to the new lawsuit, Fontainebleau’s actions violate a settlement and an amended settlement. Wynn cites five violations of that amended settlement.

Fontainebleau officials contacted Monday said only, “As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

According to the lawsuit, “Fontainebleau encouraged multiple WLV executives to breach the term of their employment agreements and the non-competition provisions contained therein.”

Among Fontainebleau’s targets:

  • VP of Culinary Operations & Restaurant Development David Snyder
  • Dim Sum Executive Chef Sandy Shi
  • Executive Sous Chef Brian Kenny
  • Executive Sous Chef Corey Francis
  • Vice President of Nightlife Ryan Jones
  • Executive Pastry Chef Patrice Caillot
  • Pastry Chef Vivian Lam
  • Garde Manger Executive Chef Michael Verno
  • Executive Director – Talent – Wynn Nightlife Wayne Crane

Kenny and Caillot left Wynn before going to work at Fontainebleau but violated their non-compete clauses to do so, according to the lawsuit.

In attempts to recruit Crane, a Fontainebleau executive knew about the non-compete clause, but persisted. Crane was asked, “What would it take to bring you over [to Fontainebleau]?” When Crane approached Wynn, they convinced him to stay, but only after a “significant increase in Crane’s salary — a direct result of Fontainebleau’s tortious interference with Crane’s employment agreement.”

At one point, Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings picked up the phone and called Fontainebleau CEO Jeff Soffer, the lawsuit said. After that call, Wynn Las Vegas “opted to forego filing a new action.”

According to the lawsuit, some executives were lured to Fontainebleau even though they had clauses in their employment contracts that barred them from competing for a set amount of time. Others were contacted by former Wynn executives who invited them to jump ship.

Wynn Resorts alleges that Fontainebleau tried to avoid non-compete clauses by listing the employees as working for the resort’s Miami location — until the clauses expired.

Fontainebleau lawyer Mike Pappas “has been duplicitously involved in this interference,” according to the lawsuit, which alleges that he has been instrumental in tampering after he directly negotiated agreements to cease.

Wynn Resorts is seeking a restraining order, actual and compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney’s fees and court costs.

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