Charlie (bleeping) Lightbody

Wynn land case revolves around foul-mouthed wise guy

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS are alleging in US District Court in Boston that some of the owners of a piece of land in Everett defrauded Wynn Resorts by concealing the involvement of a convicted felon from Revere named Charles Lightbody. A good chunk of the case hinges on expletive-laden statements made by Lightbody on a series of taped phone calls.

Lightbody is on trial for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud with two codefendants, Anthony Gattineri of Winchester and Dustin DeNunzio of Cambridge. The three men, along with a fourth man, Paul Lohnes, were partners in FBT Everett LLC, which owned the Everett land, until Lightbody sold his 12.05 percent stake in the company to Gattineri.

The timing of the Lightbody-Gattineri transaction is murky. Defense lawyers say the terms of the deal were negotiated in August 2012 and then memorialized with a five-year promissory note for $1.7 million plus interest. The promissory note was dated Dec. 14, 2012, five days before Wynn Resorts signed an option agreement on the property committing the Las Vegas casino developer to pay FBT Everett $100,000 a month until a land purchase could be arranged for $75 million.

While there is no Massachusetts law preventing convicted felons from selling land to a casino developer, the owners of FBT Everett were apparently worried Lightbody’s involvement might sink the deal with state regulators. They arranged for Gattineri to buy out Lightbody, but Lightbody never totally disappeared.

For example, in a Dec. 11, 2012, phone call with state prison inmate Darin Bufalino, Lightbody agreed with his wise guy buddy that he needed to “double blind” and “triple blind” his interest in the Everett parcel. That call and others between Lightbody and Bufalino were taped by prison officials, and then turned over to the FBI, which began investigating.

Evidence presented at trial indicated DeNunzio sent emails in May 2013 to Gattineri and Lohnes about issues affecting the development of a casino at the Everett site, and then separately sent the same email to Lightbody, suggesting he was still involved.  An April 25, 2013, a man involved in the casino deal sent an email to Gattineri, DeNunzio, and Lightbody suggesting Wynn Resorts was likely to win a license to build its casino. “Fingers crossed boys,” the email said.

At a meeting among a few of the FBT owners to discuss what could be done with the proceeds of the Everett land sale, Lightbody was included in the discussion, according to notes taken at the meeting.

On July 9, 2013, the FBI intercepted a call during which Lightbody told a friend that he was happy because he was picking up $100,000 a month, the amount Wynn Resorts was paying FBT Everett. A day later, on July 10, Lightbody called a former owner of FBT Everett and told him State Police investigators were asking questions about the owners of the company. Lightbody was asked by the former owner if his involvement in the deal had come to light, and he responded: “No, I’m not on it…they’re not going to find me anywhere, you know what I mean?”

That same day the promissory note from Gattineri to Lightbody was revised, with its effective date changed from Dec. 14, 2012, to Aug. 15, 2012. Lightbody signed the new promissory note on July 10, 2012, but in an interview with State Police investigators denied doing so.

While federal prosecutors have documented Lightbody’s continued involvement with the Everett property, they haven’t been able to come up with any evidence that money from the Everett land deal was actually flowing to him or would flow to him. Indeed, defense attorneys have suggested the promissory note from Gattineri to Lightbody, no matter when it was signed or how it was dated, was legally binding.

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.

Defense attorneys have also pointed out to the jury that Lightbody did not like Gattineri, who agreed to purchase Lightbody’s stake in FBT Everett. On one intercepted phone call with a friend, Lightbody called Gattineri a “nut,” “a scumbag,” “a maggot,” and “a piece of shit.”

Defense attorneys have also shown repeatedly that Lightbody is prone to exaggeration, suggesting his statements can’t be taken at face value. On one call, Lightbody boasted that he was going to partner on an investment in a $200 million building, which never happened. He also said he had purchased a strip club in Chelsea for $3 million, which also never happened. Lightbody did play a key role in issuing a mortgage to the owner of the strip club, putting up $528,000 of the $865,000 mortgage.

Even FBI agent Kevin Sheehan, who led the investigation into the Everett land deal, conceded Lightbody continuously changed his story about his ownership stake in FBT Everett.  “He’s out in some of the field calls, and then he appears to be in,” Sheehan said.