The city of Boston is going full steam ahead with their plan to sue the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, issuing more than a dozen subpoenas to law enforcement officers, government officials, and individuals with connections to the site on which the Wynn Everett is set to be built.
The lawsuit alleges that the gaming commission played fast and loose with their own rules in order to ensure that Wynn Resorts would receive the single casino license to be awarded in Eastern Massachusetts.
Among the subpoenas were two for retired state troopers Joseph Flaherty and Stephen Matthews.
Lawyers for the city of Boston allege that the two men were acting as private investigators for Wynn, and that state officials allowed them to read confidential files related to the criminal investigation into Charles Lightbody.
Lightbody was at the center of the controversy over the Wynn’s purchase of land in Everett.
A convicted felon, Lightbody was alleged to have a secret stake in the Everett property where the casino is now slated to be built, and the Massachusetts attorney general’s office had audio tapes of conversations in which Lightbody bragged to inmate Darin Bufalino about owning the land.
The city’s lawyers are also asking for copies of any information related to any unauthorized access to information related to the Lightbody investigation, and want copies of invoices that might reveal who was paying Flaherty and Matthews.
For its part, Wynn Resorts denies having any connection at all to Flaherty and Matthews, and says that they certainly weren’t working on behalf of the casino firm at any time.
“We are unaware of this incident and unaware of who these two individuals are,” said Wynn spokesperson Michael Weaver. “They were not and are not Wynn employees.”
Next week will be critical for the Boston lawsuit. On July 9, a judge will hear motions by the state gaming commission to dismiss the city’s lawsuit outright.
Because that hearing is coming soon, the commission is also trying to delay the subpoenas until after a ruling on the lawsuit takes place. In the meantime, the panel has had harsh words for the city of Boston, questioning how the city is conducting its lawsuit.
“[The subpoenas are] a continuation of the City’s costly legal strategy to litigate meritless claims in the press,” said gaming commission spokesperson Elaine Driscoll in a statement. “The Commission will continue to address these issues in the appropriate legal forum as we have consistently done.”
The relationship between the city of Boston and the proposed Wynn casino in Everett has been a contentious one from the very start.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had hoped to be considered a host community for either the Wynn Everett or the proposed Suffolk Downs casino in Revere, but was denied that designation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last May.
Eventually, Boston was able to reach a surrounding community agreement with the Suffolk Downs casino, one that would have earned Boston about $18 million per year in payments from the resort.
However, no such accord came with the Wynn Everett, which ultimately won the license, though the gaming commission did impose a major mitigation package on Wynn Resorts after granting them the license.
Under the terms of that package, Boston would receive at least $56 million in order to cover the impacts on traffic and other issues caused by the Everett casino in the first year, and would continue to receive $24 million annually from Wynn Resorts.
So far, Boston has refused to accept this offer, refusing to accept an initial $1 million check from Wynn earlier this year.