The Real Deal Miami

Steve Wynn’s Opportunity Zones meeting with Treasury Department officials raises eyebrows

The federal program could have helped Wynn defer or reduce his tax bill from the sale of Wynn Resorts
March 14, 2019 01:00PM

From left: Steven Mnuchin and Steve Wynn (Credit: Wikipedia)

Steve Wynn is a fan of Opportunity Zones, too, evidently.

The disgraced casino mogul met with Treasury Department officials last June to discuss the federal tax incentive program for developers, just as the agency was writing new rules for the program, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news comes amid rising criticism that the Opportunity Zones program will only benefit big investors and developers, rather than the low-income communities and residents it was designed to aid.

Wynn, who was forced to sell his stake in Wynn Resorts last year because of widespread sexual misconduct allegations, had a $2.1 billion tax bill from the sale. The Opportunity Zones program could have helped him defer and reduce those taxes, according to the Journal.

Wynn attended a meeting in the Treasury Department building in Washington with Daniel Kowalski, a counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was helping write Opportunity Zones regulations, the Journal reported. Mnuchin greeted Wynn at the meeting.

A former Treasury official said Wynn was trying to get an interpretation of the law that he did not get, according the Journal.

Wynn had needed to invest in an Opportunity Zone fund by September 2018, if he wanted to take advantage of the tax benefit, the Journal reported. [WSJ]Keith Larsen