The filing includes fresh details after an earlier lawsuit was raised on February 29, which asked for an injunction that would prohibit Fontainebleau from any further attempts to poach employees alongside damages in excess of $15,000.

In the new filing, Wynn accuses its competitor of consistently reaching out to employees on its team to quit and join the Fontainebleau team, despite being bound by noncompete agreements between the two hotels.

“Fontainebleau has repeatedly interfered with, and attempted to interfere with, Wynn’s employment agreements,” Wynn’s attorneys write in the filing. “Given its history, it is likely to continue to do so. For these reasons, Wynn asks this court to enjoin the Fontainebleau defendants from interfering with Wynn’s contractual relationships, including by soliciting third parties to break contractual agreements with Wynn or to refrain from entering into prospective contractual agreements with Wynn.”

According to the motion, Fontainebleau reportedly offered to double the salary of a Wynn employee on at least one occasion.

Fontainebleau officials are yet to comment on the lawsuit.

A judge in Clark County’s business court will make a ruling on the preliminary injunction within the next 30 days.

Fontainebleau accused of ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach

The filing details a specific example of a Senior Executive Director of Entertainment for Wynn Nightlight, Wayne Crane, who has been working at Wynn since April 2010.

Wynn claims that Crane was contacted by Fontainebleau’s Senior Vice President of Nightlife, Michael Waltman, in January 2024, was told he was “not appreciated” at Wynn, and asked what could tempt him to join Fontainebleau. Wynn said he was content but could be open to a move if a major salary bump was on the cards.

Fontainebleau then reportedly told Crane they could work around a noncompete clause in his contract by assigning him to their Miami business, but that he could technically stay in Las Vegas and run both the Miami and Vegas operations from Nevada.

Crane says he signed with Fontainebleau, but upon telling his superiors that he had received an offer – omitting that he had accepted it – was convinced to stay at Wynn thanks to a new three-year contract with a significant pay boost.

“The arrangement had a feeling like it was ‘smoke and mirrors’ to get around the noncompete, but I was comfortable as long as Fontainebleau provided me with indemnity protection,” Crane said.

Unhealthy obsession”: An ongoing Vegas talent war

The earlier lawsuit, filed in February, reveals that leadership at the competing Las Vegas resorts have met before, with Fontainebleau reportedly agreeing to stop attempts to poach executives.

However, according to Wynn, the problem has persisted following an initial instance where David Snyder, a member of the senior leadership opening team for six Wynn resorts across the world, gave notice he would be moving to Fontainebleau on July 8, 2022.

Despite Fontainebleau agreeing to ‘not directly solicit’ Wynn employees as part of a non-solicitation covenant, the hotel allegedly attempted to poach several employees including Crane, sous chefs, and a pastry chef, with Wynn CEO Craig Billings even contacting Fontainebleau CEO Jeff Soffer directly, demanding the practice stop.

“Fontainebleau simply cannot stop interfering with WLV’s employment contracts,” the February 29 lawsuit says. “Fontainebleau’s conduct is demonstrative of an unhealthy obsession with everything Wynn, from its amenities to its employees.”

At the time, Wynn Las Vegas released a statement. “Clearly, we want all operators in Las Vegas to be successful; it’s good for the city in which we all live,” it said. “We just want that to happen without interference in the contractual agreements our employees have negotiated with us.”

With nearly 300 hotels in Las Vegas alone, the competition for talent is stiff. Noncompete clauses, whilst banned in some states, are permitted in Nevada, though it appears they are not enough to stop some hotels from attempting to skirt round the contractual clauses.

A spokesperson told Las Vegas Review-Journal that it’s not an isolated issue. “As the premier resort in Las Vegas, we have had other operators attempt to interfere with our employment contracts and have historically resolved them through negotiation but have not hesitated to protect our rights through litigation,” the spokesman suggested.

Benjamin Broomfield