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The head of the state gambling commission is withdrawing from next week’s crucial review of the land deal for a $1.3 billion casino proposed for Everett, after disclosing that he is a longtime friend and former business partner of one of the owners of the proposed casino site.
Stephen Crosby, who has led the five-member commission since it was created in 2012, said that he has known Paul Lohnes, co-owner of the 29-acre Everett site, since they were in the National Guard in the 1970s and that they were business partners from 1983 to 1990 at a company that made cable television guides.
If Wynn Resorts wins the right to develop the former Monsanto chemical site into a casino, the sale of the land would potentially be worth millions of dollars to Lohnes.
“Given how demanding we’ve been with everybody else, it was appropriate for me to say: Look, this is a funky situation,” said Crosby, in a Globe interview. “I could certainly be objective. I’ve complied with all the rules, but nevertheless I’m going to let the other commissioners figure out how the land gets handled.”