Wynn Boston Harbor Criminal Land Trial Begins, Proposed Brockton Casino Suffers Setback
Posted on: April 12, 2016, 12:32h.
Last updated on: April 12, 2016, 12:36h.
The Wynn Boston Harbor, a proposed $2 billion five-star resort located just across the Mystic River in Everett, Massachusetts, will soon begin construction on land that is alleged to have been partially owned by mobsters.
Former landowner Anthony Gattineri has repeatedly denied those allegations, but federal prosecutors believe they have more than enough evidence to take the real estate businessman to trial in Massachusetts. And a federal grand jury agreed in 2014.
Jury selection commenced on Monday into the case against Gattineri, Dustin DeNunzio, and Charles Lightbody, the latter being a reputed mob associate and a convicted felon.
According to filing documents, prosecutors believe DeNunzio forged records to show that Lightbody sold his interest in the 33 acres of waterfront land, and that he was no longer involved in the property ahead of Wynn’s intended $75 million acreage purchase.
Under the 2011 Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act that legalized gambling for three resort-style casinos in three separately zoned regions, convicted felons are specifically outlawed from profiting off gambling operations. If Lightbody was indeed a shareholder of the Everett land, the purchase of the tract would have been blocked at that time.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the sale to Wynn before the federal indictment was handed down on the three defendants.
Prosecutors are expected to call on billionaire Steve Wynn to testify, as the casino magnate is considered a victim in the case, along with the state’s Gaming Commission. But in this case, being the victim may not have been Wynn’s worst possible outcome. That’s because Wynn was able to renegotiate the price down from $75 million to $35 million after Lightbody’s potential role was revealed.
The trial is expected to last several weeks. If convicted, the defendants are looking at 20 years in prison and might be forced to forfeit millions of dollars from the sale.
Brockton Casino Owners Fined
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is authorized to grant three resort casino licenses. Wynn has secured Region A and MGM has landed Region B in Springfield, but Region C, the area southeast section of the state, remains up for grabs.
Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming is thought to be one of the favorites for the third and final commercial gambling license, but this week those odds presumably diminished, after the company agreed to a $1.65 million fine with Illinois gaming regulators.
The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, settled with the state for awarding no-bid contracts for its security and cleaning services, and also for “inconsistent” jackpot payouts.
While the northeast part of the country certainly doesn’t need any more “backroom deals,” as made evident by the preceding Wynn story, Rush executives say the incident at the Rivers Casino shouldn’t impact the company’s bid in the Bay State.
“Rivers Casino . . . self-reported this matter. This settlement has no bearing on the Brockton Casino Resort,” said Joe Baerlein, a spokesman for Rush.
Of course, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, not Rush, will have the final say.
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