Ahead of the planned June opening of its Encore Boston Harbor development and American casino operator, Wynn Resorts Limited, is reportedly being sued by a local firm that earlier lost out in the race to bring a gambling facility to the Boston area.
Suffolk Downs owner files lawsuit:
According to a Tuesday report from the Bloomberg news service, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC had hoped to win the right to open a large casino at its Suffolk Downs horseracing facility in the East Boston neighborhood of the state’s largest city but was left disappointed in 2014 when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission instead opted for the $2.5 billion Encore Boston Harbor plan from Wynn Resorts Limited.
Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC has since announced that it is exploring the possibility of constructing a new thoroughbred horseracing facility elsewhere in Massachusetts while its lawsuit, which is seeking over $1 billion in damages, was filed on Monday just as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission began a series of deliberations on whether to license the nearly-finished Encore Boston Harbor.
Multiple defendants named:
Bloomberg reported that the legal action names Wynn Resorts Limited and its former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Wynn, as lead defendants alongside the casino firm’s current boss, Matt Maddox. The lawsuit alleges that the operator violated the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act during the process to select the plan for a Boston-area casino and moreover includes Kim Sinatra, a past general counsel for the Las Vegas-based company, among its list of defendants.
Action alleges links to organized crime:
The news service reported that Encore Boston Harbor sits on a 33-acre parcel of land in the north Boston suburb of Everett that was sold to Wynn Resorts Limited by FBT Everett Realty LLC. The lawsuit also includes this property firm and one of its principle investors, Paul Lohnes, as defendants amid allegations that the once-polluted site was previously controlled by individuals with questionable ties to local organized crime figures.
Bloomberg reported that the plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that Wynn Resorts Limited had committed extortion in order to suppress voter turnout for a local referendum on its own plan and had lied about ties between the Everett site and those with links to organized crime. As if this wasn’t enough, the action furthermore contends that the casino operator had broke state gaming laws by making campaign contributions during the application period.
The lawsuit reportedly declares…
“The Wynn [Resorts Limited] defendants should have been denied a license for each of those reasons and would have been denied the license but for the misconduct alleged herein.”
Alternative proposal alleged to be better option:
Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC is a subsidiary of New York City-headquartered property development firm Coastal Development LLC, which is led in the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer by principle investor Richard Fields. The lawsuit additionally asserted that its own proposal for a Boston-area casino had been superior to the plan from Wynn Resorts Limited and had even been endorsed by the city’s then-serving mayor, Thomas Menino.
Lead defendant criticizes ‘frivolous’ claims:
Although Elaine Driscoll from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reportedly declined to comment on the legal action, Wynn Resorts Limited released a statement that described the lawsuit as ‘frivolous and clearly without foundation’.
According to the statement from Wynn Resorts Limited…
“This lawsuit was brought by Richard Fields, an unsuccessful applicant for the license awarded to Wynn Resorts Limited.”