Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn File Motions to Dismiss $3 Billion Boston RICO Lawsuit

Posted on: March 12, 2019, 08:43h. 

Last updated on: March 12, 2019, 08:43h.

Both Wynn Resorts and its former chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn, have hit back at a lawsuit that accuses the company of racketeering in relation to its bid to secure licensing for the Encore Boston Harbor, back in 2014.

Wynn Resorts
Chip Tuttle is the COO of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, whose $3 billion lawsuit against Wynn Resorts et al has been branded by lawyers for Steve Wynn as “little more than innuendo.” (Image: CTP Boston)

On Friday, Steve Wynn’s attorneys wrote in a motion to dismiss the suit, brought by the former owners of the Suffolk Downs Racetrack in East Boston, that it “fails to state a claim against Mr. Wynn or any other defendant and is devoid of any allegations of legal consequence.

“Plaintiff chose to re-plead with little more than innuendo,” it adds.

Suffolk Downs competed against Wynn Resorts in the 2014 bid for the single East Massachusetts license but it and its casino partner Mohegan Sun lost out to the Las Vegas-based company.

RICO Ran Out

The historic race track has since been sold and is expected to become a housing and shopping development, but former owner Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC (SSR) sued Wynn Resorts and Steve Wynn last year in a bid to prove the company “conspired to fix the application process, circumvent laws in place to prevent the infiltration of mob elements, and interfere and eliminate various regulations aimed at protecting the public at large.”

Last month, it amended its complaint to add two more explosive allegations: that Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria took kickbacks from land acquisition deals for the Wynn casino, and that then Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Stephen Crosby conspired with a friend, Paul Lohnes, to steer the license towards Wynn Resorts in a “secret deal.” Lohnes is also a defendant in the suit.

SSR is suing for $3 billion under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), but as Wynn Resorts’ lawyers pointed out last week, the statute of limitations has run out on the RICO Act.

“A plaintiff must bring a RICO claim within four years of the date that he knew or should have known for his injury,” they wrote.

“The Amended Complaint fails to transform alleged misrepresentations to a state licensing authority — a garden variety state law issue — into a federal crime,” they added.

Promised Land

SSR’s allegations hinge on the sale of the plot of land that became the Encore Boston Harbor. Wynn Resorts bought it from a company called FTB Everett Realty, which was accused of attempting to cover up the fact that one of its owners, Charles A Lightbody, was a convicted felon because they believed it would have sunk the deal.

Lightbody also had links with Mayor De Maria, while another owner of FTB, Paul Lohnes, was an old friend and business associate of Gaming Commissioner Crosby, who had once bailed him out when Crosby’s publishing business went under.

Lightbody and two other owners of FTB — but not Lohnes — were put on trial for fraud but were cleared. It was also established in court that Wynn Resorts had no prior knowledge of Lightbody’s criminal past.