Witness: Wynn Resorts was told about Lightbody in 2012

Contradicts casino firm’s claim that it didn’t know until mid-2013

TWO TOP OFFICIALS AT WYNN RESORTS were told in November 2012  that the owners of the Everett land they were seeking to buy included a man with a “checkered past” named Charles Lightbody, according to a prosecution witness in the federal wire fraud case against Lightbody and two others.

The claim by James Flood, a lower-level but critical player in the Wynn Resorts land deal in Everett, contradicts what officials at the Las Vegas casino operator have been saying for several years, that they didn’t learn about the involvement of Lightbody, a convicted felon, until investigators from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission told them in mid-2013.

Lightbody, Dustin DeNunzio, and Anthony Gattineri are accused of wire fraud for attempting to conceal Lightbody’s involvement in the Everett land deal.  The testimony of Flood, who previously worked for DeNunzio, would appear to undercut the fraud charges since, according to Flood’s testimony, Wynn knew all along about Lightbody’s involvement.

Under questioning by DeNunzio’s attorney, Flood testified about a site visit to Everett in November 2012 by Matthew Maddox and Kim Sinatra, the president and legal counsel for Wynn Resorts. Flood said he heard DeNunzio disclose to Maddox and Sinatra that a man with a “checkered past” was part of the current ownership group.

“So DeNunzio told them about Charles Lightbody?” asked DeNunzio’s attorney, Joshua Levy.

“Yes,” replied Flood.

Asked if Maddox or Sinatra expressed any concerns about Lightbody’s involvement, Flood said they didn’t.

While Flood’s testimony buttressed a key defense contention, he also documented numerous instances where the owners of the Everett property appeared to conceal Lightbody’s involvement.

Flood, who now manages shopping centers in the Atlanta area, said he served as the lone employee of DeNunzio’s real estate business from 2011 to 2014. He said he considered DeNunzio a close friend and mentor who taught him the ropes of the business.

One of the properties Flood helped manage for DeNunzio was the Everett property where Wynn Resorts wants to build a $2 billion casino. It was owned by a limited liability corporation called FBT Everett, whose owners included Lightbody, Gattineri, and DeNunzio.

Concerned that state gambling regulators might have a problem with Lightbody’s involvement in the land on which a casino was proposed, defense attorneys say Lightbody transferred his stake in the property to Gattineri before Wynn Resorts executed an option agreement to buy the land in December 2012. In return, the attorneys say, Gattineri issued a five-year promissory note to Lightbody for $1.7 million that was paid off, with $200,000 in interest, by June 2014.

Federal prosecutors introduced emails suggesting that DeNunzio regularly kept Lightbody abreast of routine developments with the property even after he had transferred his stake to Gattineri. They also played a February 2013 taped phone call between Lightbody and a prison inmate with organized crime ties named Darin Bufalino, who seemed to be helping Lightbody gather information on a competing casino proposal at Suffolk Downs.

Notes taken by Flood at a June 2013 meeting also referred to Lightbody as a beneficiary of a trust connected with the Everett property. “I remember thinking it was strange his name came up because it was my understanding he was out of the deal,” Flood testified.

Flood also said he shuttled documents related to the promissory note back and forth between Gattineri, Lightbody, and FBT Everett’s attorney, Paul Feldman. Flood said the promissory note paperwork was signed initially by Gattineri and Lightbody and then had to be reissued and resigned to make it clear there were two separate documents.

In the midst of shuttling documents back and forth, Flood said he was stopped and interviewed by the FBI. He agreed to participate on a recorded call with DeNunzio and then wear a wire for future meetings with his boss. On the way to a meeting with DeNunzio, however, Flood said he changed his mind. He said he called DeNunzio and told him how the FBI had questioned him. Flood said he also told Lightbody about the FBI. He quoted Lightbody as saying: “Wow, so then they know everything.”

Prosecutors also introduced evidence suggesting that DeNunzio was involved in developing a scheme to funnel money to Lightbody in connection with the purchase of an adult entertainment club in Chelsea called King Arthur’s.

Flood said Lightbody could not be directly involved in purchasing King Arthur’s because of his past criminal convictions. But Flood’s notes from a meeting on purchasing King Arthur’s indicated those involved were trying to find a way around that restriction by having Lightbody loan money to the corporation that would buy the club and then receive interest payments on that loan from the corporation. The King Arthur’s deal was never completed.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

On cross-examination, defense attorneys tried to downplay what appeared to be efforts by DeNunzio to conceal Lightbody’s ongoing involvement in the Everett land deal. Flood said the emails sent to Lightbody keeping him abreast of ongoing matters related to the Everett land could have been sent to him because the information would have been helpful to Lightbody as a developer of other real estate in the area.

Flood also testified that DeNunzio was not upset with him for talking to and cooperating with the FBI. Flood said DeNunzio told him to be honest and truthful in his dealings with the FBI because FBT Everett had nothing to hide.