Suffolk Downs challenges casino award to Wynn

Cites indictment of Everett landowners


Suffolk Downs on Wednesday asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to reconsider its decision to award a casino license to Wynn Resorts, filing a detailed letter with the commission alleging that Wynn’s bid can no longer proceed in compliance with the law after the indictment of the owners of property in Everett where Wynn wants to build.

The Gaming Commission last month selected the proposal from Wynn Resorts to build a resort casino in Everett over that of Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs, who proposed to build in Revere adjacent to the East Boston track. Suffolk Downs held what it expects to be its last day of thoroughbred racing at the track over the weekend as a result of losing out on the license.

The letter, signed by Charles Baker III, the secretary of Suffolk Downs, claims the indictments and other issues with the land in Everett make it clear that Wynn “will not be able to develop its proposed casino while abiding by the Gaming Act.”

Federal prosecutors earlier this month charged three men in connection with alleged efforts to hide from Wynn Resorts and state gaming regulators the financial interest of a felon in parcel of land in Everett pitched for the casino. Charles Lightbody, 54, of Revere; Dustin DeNunzio, 37, of Cambridge; and Anthony Gattineri, 56, of Winchester were charged with concealing Lightbody’s financial interests in the land as part of an effort by FBT Realty “to obtain money from Wynn Resorts in exchange for the land.” Authorities say Lightbody, who has pleaded innocent, is a known associate of the New England Mafia.

Baker, in the letter, said Wynn can only acquire the land now ” by doing business with the patently unsuitable owner of FBT Realty, which it is forbidden to do.”

He also raised “grave doubts” about Wynn’s ability to acquire the land within the 60-day deadline because of environmental concerns related to the project and the need to purchase adjacent parcels of land from the MBTA. Baker attached to his letter documents obtained from Everett indicating acquisition of the MBTA land is essential to the project, a fact he claimed Wynn officials withheld from the Gaming Commission.

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Matt Murphy

State House News Service
“On behalf of our workers and the horsemen and women here, we felt an obligation to raise these issues to the Gaming Commission, especially in light of new information regarding the Everett land and the continuing questions around the suitability of individuals associated with that land,” Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Office Chip Tuttle said in a statement.

The Gaming Commission meets Thursday.