On Friday, Charles A. Lightbody and two codefendants were acquitted by a federal jury of charges that they schemed to conceal Lightbody’s financial interest in a lucrative deal for the sale of Everett land to Wynn Resorts to build the company’s proposed $2 billion casino.
More than 15 witnesses, three weeks of testimony, hundreds of pages of documents, and hours of tape recordings resulted in a jury, selected on April 11, deliberating for approximately six hours to reach its verdict. After the decision was announced, Lightbody and codefendants Dustin DeNunzio and Anthony Gattineri and their families celebrated the acquittal, as reported by the Boston Globe.
Prosecutors in the case alleged that property and bank records were forged by the three owners of the property, Anthony Gattineri, Dustin DeNunzio and Charles Lightbody to make it appear as if Lightbody sold his 12 percent interest in the Everett property to Gattineri in exchange for a promissory note in the amount of $1.7 million, prior to the $75 million deal to sell the land the group had reached with Wynn in December 2012.
According to prosecutors, the group feared Lightbody’s criminal past and known association with Mafia figures would ruin the deal, believing that Wynn would no longer be interested in purchasing the property because if somebody like Lightbody was involved the state Gaming Commission would reject an application. Massachusetts law strictly forbids felons from earning a profit from any gambling operations within the state.
However, it was argued by the defendant’s attorneys that Lightbody had transferred his 12 percent interest in the Everett property months prior to the Wynn deal. And that while they acknowledged that the transactions were only recorded by DeNunzio in July 2013, said he did so based on legal advice and that there was nothing wrong with backdating documents to properly reflect the date that a deal was reached. The attorneys also argued that there wasn’t a specific law preventing Lightbody from benefitting from the casino deal, which negated the argument by the prosecutors that Wynn and the state Gaming Commission were victims of fraud.
Casino insiders who questioned Wynn’s knowledge of Lightbody’s suspected involvement in FBT Realty had watched the case closely, and had said that the integrity of licensing process had been tainted by the case. Following Friday’s verdict, the integrity of the application process was again questioned by an attorney representing the Mohegan Sun, which competed against Wynn for the region’s only casino license and has since filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Wynn officials said that regardless of the verdict, they would not have commented. Also opting not to comment was a spokeswoman for the Gaming Commission.
In related news, on April 25, Wynn Resorts won a key environmental approval for its Wynn Boston Harbor casino proposal. The approval included a caveat by the Gaming Commission giving it the power to adjust Wynn’s contribution to deal with traffic directly or for a working group focused on traffic issues or both.