Federal Grand Jury Indicts Three Men in the Everett Casino Lightbody Scandal
Federal and state grand juries have returned indictments against 3 owners of waterfront property set to be used in the Wynn Resorts casino in Everett. The three men are charged with lying to gaming regulators to conceal a former convict’s role in the deal with Wynn Resorts, which plans to build a $1.6 billion property on the land.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office which is prosecuting the case, Charles Lightbody, Anthony Gattineri, and Dustin DeNunzio defrauded Wynn Resorts by lying to them about Lightbody’s role in the land deal. Charles Lightbody is a convicted felon who is thought to have a connection to the New England mafia.
Details of the Indictments
The three face several charges apiece. Charges from the federal grand jury include wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aiding and abetting. Charges from the state grand jury are conspiracy, tampering with evidence, and impeding a gaming investigation.
Tim Flaherty, Charles Lightbody’s attorney, said that his client’s indictment is based on speculation and conjecture. Flaherty also said that Lightbody “steadfastly professes his innocence”. No lawyer for the other two indicted men came forward to provide a statement.
Wynn Resorts Won Everett Casino License
It was announced last month that Wynn Resorts had won a casino license for Everett. Steve Wynn’s gaming company beat the Mohegan Sun’s Revere casino project in the final application round, while both had outlasted a Caesars Entertainment application the year previously. Caesars had sued the Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman for conflict of interests in an unrelated controversy.
The Wynn Resorts casino project is expected to have a $1.6 billion price tag. That includes a $30 million tab to help clean the Mystic River by restocking it with 250,000 oysters. It’s just one additional ploy made by Steve Wynn in a series of maneuvers to win a lucrative Boston-area casino license.
Wynn Resorts Wronged by Lightbody Group
Readers should note that Wynn Resorts is accused of no wrongdoing in the Lightbody scandal. In fact, it was Steve Wynn’s people who were lied to, so they were more victims than perpetrators.
When the Lightbody connection became known, Wynn Resorts had to delay its development plan for months in trying to acquire the property and still gain the approval of the Gaming Commission. The commission announced it would not let a sale take place between the land’s ownership group and Wynn Resorts, because of Lightbody’s connection to organized crime.
Sell of Mystic River Land
Eventually, the mayor of Everett offered to buy the land for $40 million and sell it at cost to Wynn Resorts, in order to help facilitate the project. The delays this caused allowed Mohegan Sun to recover from an earlier setback, in which voters of East Boston voted down a proposal for a joint East Boston/Revere casino plan.
The Wynn casino in Everett faces one more potential obstacle. In November, voters across Massachusetts will have the ability to reverse their decision to legalize casino gambling in the state in the first place. In 2011, Massachusetts voters voted to approve a casino license, hoping the gaming establishment would help the state deal with rising deficits.
If Massachusetts votes down the latest proposal, then the whole licensing process will have been for naught. Regulators no longer will have the authority to approve such a license, and the whole matter will be dropped.
Steve Wynn Triumphant
Since his victory in the Massachusetts casino license sweepstakes, Steve Wynn has spoken about the future of the Everett casino. Wynn said he would need to me with Boston’s mayor, Martin Walsh, and repair any damage their relationship has sustained in the 3-year process. Wynn said he could not build his $1.6 billion casino without the assistance of Marty Walsh, and he hoped to become the mayor’s “man”. For his part, Marty Walsh has said that his door is open to Steve Wynn. Despite tales that Mayor Walsh dislikes Steve Wynn, it appears obvious that the two men will get on the same page, now that it is certain Wynn Resorts is the future of Boston-area gambling.
The only thing that could derail Steve Wynn’s plans is the coming November referendum on casino gambling. If the people of Massachusetts do not pass the referendum, then the 2011 law which approved a casino license in the first place will be repealed.
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