Maybe they should create a TV soap opera called “As Massachusetts’ Casinos Get Overturned”; the drama never seems to stop in this East Coast state that is struggling to implement legalized land gaming, and facing obstacles at every turn, it appears.
Was an Ex-Con Involved?
The latest episode has the now infamously persnickety Massachusetts Gaming Commission with a Dec.16 suitability hearing on the dockets for the new possible Wynn Everett resort, while…wait for it…a federal grand jury and two state agencies are now reportedly looking into whether a Wynn land deal for the same project involved a covert felon who allegedly had secret ownership in the former Monsanto chemical plant site being used for the casino project.
Word is that a former jailbird who did time for both identity theft for his involvement in a New York ring as well as for assault with a dangerous weapon could be a ‘secret investor” in Wynn Everett and might benefit financially if the project achieves Gaming Commission approval. We can just hear the pillory stockades being lined up now. Said ex-con is a certain Charles Lightbody.
In this never-ending dance to avoid the hot coals of the Mass. Commission’s investigatory process, Wynn Resorts has reportedly now redone the original sales agreement and brought down the price they will pay if the $1.5 billion project gets its papal blessing.
“We have agreed with the sellers to amend our option agreement to clearly confirm ownership and to reduce the option price to reflect fair market value without casino use,” Wynn Resorts noted in a recently released statement. “We intend to petition the [gaming commission] for approval of our action.”
Truth or Consequences
As seems to be the case over and over with this colonoscopy-style Gaming Commission, it’s a case of he said/he said. Wynn officials retorted to the accusations of illicit investors that they were “unaware of any other investigation related to the property.” Wynn Resorts reportedly originally offered $70 million to an outfit called FBT Everett Realty LLC to obtain the 30-acre site that was once used by Monsanto. They further reiterated that while they knew of the Commission’s alleged intel on this felon, that they had never, according to their own records, had any dealings with someone named Charles Lightbody, and that they had conducted their own background checks on the existing property owners before closing that deal.
But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission seems to have private investigators on their payroll who dust for fingerprints with specially sensitive gloves, as they continue to come up with “information” that no one else has. These P.I.s now claim that their deal reviews “raised concerns about potential participants who had not been disclosed to us,” the Commission noted.
So, where does the truth lie?
So far, nobody official is commenting; not the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, and no one from federal law enforcement divisions, either. Meanwhile, what exactly the grand jury is trying to turn up is a little vague at this point. And the Gaming Commission itself is being quite circumspect about the whole situation.
“We are unable to comment on the background investigation while it is still active and respectfully decline to comment on investigatory details at this time,” said a Commission spokeswoman in an email.
Be sure to join us next week for another episode of “As Massachusetts’ Casinos Get Overturned”.