Walsh on Everett Casino Indictments: Told You So

The planned Wynn casino in Everett.
The planned Wynn casino in Everett.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took the chance to blast his adversaries on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Thursday, following the news of the indictment of the owners of the land where Steve Wynn plans to build a casino.

Charles Lightbody, Dustin DeNunzio, and Anthony Gattineri were indicted Thursday for allegedly defrauding the gaming panel and Wynn by concealing Lightbody’s stake in the land. Lightbody, whose stake in the project had faced scrutiny throughout the process of awarding the sole Boston-area license to Wynn, is a convicted felon, and the state’s gaming law prevents felons from cashing in on a casino development.

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In a statement, Walsh said:

From the start of this process, I have been up front about my serious concerns related to the Everett parcel. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission and their investigatory body clearly failed the people of Boston and of the Commonwealth by allowing — even remotely — the taint of corruption to be associated with this land transaction.

Walsh butted heads often with the gaming board over the course of the last year, and opposed the Everett casino after failing to secure a surrounding community agreement with Wynn. The mayor seemed willing to turn the page following the awarding of the Boston-area license, saying he hoped to meet with Wynn personally.

For its part, the commission is taking credit for helping to uncover the alleged issues, saying in a statement:

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been very clear that protecting the integrity of the state’s expanded gaming industry must be its first priority. Appropriate collaboration between the Commission as a regulatory body and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies is an integral part of accomplishing that mission. As it has done throughout this process, when there are concerns about potential criminal conduct, The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) delivers investigatory materials to the relevant law enforcement authorities for action deemed appropriate and today’s state indictments resulted. These federal and state indictments send a loud message that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will take every measure necessary to preserve the integrity of the gaming industry while also remaining focused on maximizing the benefits of job creation and increased revenue to the Commonwealth.

As The Boston Globe notes, the indictments paint Wynn as a victim, and are unlikely to have an effect on plans for Wynn’s $1.6 billion resort. But Mohegan Sun—which Wynn beat out for the license—says it’s watching on. Its statement:

Today’s developments have darkened a cloud which has been lingering for some time over the land transactions necessary for Wynn Resorts’ project in Everett. Mohegan Sun greatly values the Massachusetts market, and continues to be interested in the establishment of the Commonwealth’s gaming industry. We will be monitoring future developments relative to these criminal indictments of people associated with the Wynn Resorts project site in Everett, and any impact they may have on the licensing and regulatory process.

Massachusetts voters will decide in November whether to move forward with casinos, as Question 3 on the ballots will ask whether to repeal the law allowing expanded gambling in the state.

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