In a key vote that keeps Wynn Resorts in the hunt for the state’s most lucrative casino license, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission today voted 4-0 to approve a revised land deal between Wynn and property owners in Everett.
The vote includes the requirement that the partners who control the land through FBT Everett Realty LLC sign notarized statements that they alone are the beneficiaries of the $35 million deal with Wynn, a demand added by the commission after its investigators learned of an alleged hidden interest in the property for convicted felon Charles A. Lightbody.
“It’s intolerable for people to tell us things that are not true,’’ Commissioner James McHugh said before the vote, referring to Lightbody’s hidden role.
Lightbody repeatedly discussed his plans to conceal his role in the Everett property with Darin Bufalino, a long-time organized crime figure now serving a state prison sentence, according to state records.
The connection between Lightbody and Bufalino is included in a sheaf of documents released today by the commission before its vote on what a commission staffer described as “one of the most complex and convoluted fact patterns to put on paper.’’
While raising questions about the true ownership of the Everett property, the commissioners also said that there was “no evidence whatsoever’’ that Wynn Resorts officials knew about hidden ownership in the Everett property.
According to documents released by the commission today, investigators recorded a series of phone conversations in late 2012 between Lightbody and Bufalino, the enforcer for a crime family, in which the men discuss Wynn’s planned purchase of an option to buy the land in Everett.
Though Lightbody was not a listed partner with the land owner, FBT Everett Realty, documents provided to gaming commission investigators showed Lightbody was an undisclosed partner in the 29-acre property.
On Dec. 5, 2012, as Wynn is negotiating the deal, Lightbody assures Bufalino that “we’ve got Steve Wynn in our corner … We took on Wynn, now Wynn is supposed to start paying up $100,000 a month December 14.”
A week later, Lightbody tells Bufalino he’s waiting for Friday because “Friday is the day that they sign or they don’t sign,” referring to the land deal between FBT and Wynn.
Lightbody, who has a lengthy criminal record, tells Bufalino that Wynn can’t sell the land to a felon, “but the only good thing is, nobody knows who’s involved which makes it good because now I can just move on, you know what I mean? So basically they’re going to buy me out.”
In its report, commission investigators said they believe that Lightbody had a 12.5 percent ownership stake at the time of the deal with Wynn. Paul Lohnes, a former business partner of Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby, had a 50 percent stake followed by Anthony Gattineri (15 percent); Gary DeCicco (19.5 percent) and Dustin DeNunzio (3 percent).
The surviving partners of FBT Everett Realty are Lohnes, Gattineri and DeNunzio, records show.
The commission said that Lohnes, Gattineri and DeNunzio do not have criminal histories. DeCicco was convicted of insurance fraud and forgery, but was acquitted of arson, according to the board.
Crosby has recused himself for having any role in the review of the Everett land deal, not the casino licensure.
Wynn chose the Everett site in late 2012, after local opposition in Foxborough persuaded him to give up plans to build a casino near Gillette Stadium. The developer said he liked the Everett parcel, a contaminated former Monsanto chemical site, for its proximity to the Mystic River and for the skyline views of Boston.
Wynn signed an option to buy the land a year ago, and last June Everett voters overwhelmingly endorsed Wynn’s plans to develop a $1.3 billion casino hotel at the site. Wynn had originally offered to pay about $75 million for land that FBT Everett Realty LLC bought in 2009 for little more than $8 million, according to people familiar with the deal.
But state casino investigators reviewing Wynn’s option deal as part of the company’s mandatory background check raised concerns that undisclosed partners may have a stake in the land. The Globe reported last month that a federal grand jury and other agencies are investigating whether Lightbody, a Revere businessman with a long criminal record, had a role as a secret investor who stood to collect a windfall if Wynn bought the parcel.
To address the concerns of investigators, Wynn Resorts rewrote the sales agreement for the former industrial land, slashing the price the company will pay if the casino is built to minimize the possibility that any undisclosed partners could benefit from a gambling business.Continued...