In Massachusetts, American casino operator Wynn Resorts Limited is reportedly being sued amid claims that it breached a handshake agreement by not paying a former minority owner of the land under the coming Encore Boston Harbor development just over $18.67 million.
According to reports from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald newspapers, Anthony Gattineri filed his suit in Boston federal court on Tuesday alleging fraud, unfair trade practices and breach of contract due to Wynn Resorts Limited’s ‘calculated refusal to honor their contract’ concerning the 33-acre plot it purchased in 2014.
The newspapers reported that Gattineri held a 46% stake in an entity known as FBT Everett Realty, which agreed a deal in late-2012 that would have seen it sell the land for the five-star waterfront development to the Las Vegas-based casino giant for $75 million. But, the proposed sale soon became embroiled in controversy after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission discovered via its licensing investigations that convicted felon, Charles Lightbody, was also to be involved in the transaction.
As a result, the regulator reportedly ruled that the Everett site for the coming integrated casino resort must be sold at the fair market value of $35 million in order to prevent Lightbody from inordinately profiting from the deal. Although he was opposed to the less lucrative arrangement, Gattineri alleges that he could not stop the transaction due to the fact that he was a minority partner in FBT Everett Realty.
However, the newspapers reported that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as part of its licensing procedure had subsequently asked Gattineri to endorse a document certifying that he and his partners’ ownership of FBT Everett Realty had been ‘for themselves only and no other persons or entities’. After refusing to sign, the former landowner alleges that he met with Wynn Resorts representative, Robert DeSalvio, in San Diego where the casino executive had offered to reward him with a percentage of the purchase price reduction in exchange for his signature.
Gattineri further alleged that DeSalvio had threatened him with bad publicity along with ‘dire economic consequences’ in addition to detailing that his refusal to sign would cause ‘a potentially fatal problem for Wynn Resorts Limited’s licensing prospects’ in Massachusetts.
The newspapers reported that Gattineri contends that he subsequently agreed a deal for his signature via a handshake with DeSalvio but his suit alleges that Wynn Resorts Limited had so far ‘taken no steps to meet its obligations under the contract it made.’
“Mr DeSalvio did not deny that Wynn [Resorts Limited] owed Mr Gattineri the money to make him whole,” reportedly reads Gattineri’s complaint. “Wynn [Resorts Limited], however, has refused to either make the agreed payment to Anthony Gattineri or to make arrangements to do so. It now seems painfully apparent that Wynn [Resorts Limited] never had any intention of honoring its agreement.”
In dismissing Gattineri’s allegations, Wynn Resorts Limited spokesperson, Greg John, reportedly released a statement claiming that the lawsuit ‘is an attempt to now extract an additional multi-million-dollar payment from our company beyond what was negotiated and accepted.’
“Mr Gattineri’s claim that a publicly-traded company in a highly-regulated industry would execute a $20 million transaction on a handshake deal without any documentation or paperwork is implausible and will be vigorously defended by Wynn [Resorts Limited],” read John’s statement.