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Questions Raised Over Wynn Land Deal For Possible Everett Casino

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent
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EVERETT (CBS) – Could almost all of the big names in gambling be shut out of Massachusetts?

Caesars was dropped from the Suffolk Downs plan. Voters rejected proposals from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. And now Wynn resorts is in the spotlight over questions about the land deal surrounding the proposal for Everett.

“In general we are concerned about all aspects of this (and) who is involved,” State Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said.

The Boston Globe is reporting that officials are asking questions about Charles Lightbody, a Revere man with an extensive criminal record, including a 2006 arrest for stealing people’s identities.

According to the paper, Lightbody, at one point, was a part owner of the 30 acre parcel that Wynn resorts will purchase if it is awarded the sole casino license in eastern Massachusetts.

However, the Globe reported Lightbody’s attorney claims his client was no longer part of that ownership group, and Commissioner Crosby does not expect the investigation to hurt Wynn’s chances.

“Just having read the newspaper report, this had nothing to do with Wynn,” Crosby said. “That was nothing Wynn knew about “

However, Wynn resorts confirmed in a statement to WBZ-TV that it is re-writing the sales agreement.

“When Wynn entered into an option agreement to acquire approximately 30 acres of land in Everett, we completed our standard compliance investigation of the property equity owners who were identified to us. Later, during the course of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s suitability investigation of Wynn MA, LLC, this transaction was reviewed. The MGC Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) raised concerns about potential participants who had not been disclosed to us. Those concerns were denied by the selling group. The IEB has advised us that Wynn’s compliance process was acceptable, but that the IEB still had outstanding concerns regarding the selling group. In response and in cooperation with the IEB, we have agreed with the sellers to amend our option agreement to clearly confirm ownership and to reduce the option price to reflect fair market value without casino use. We intend to petition the MGC for its approval of our action. While we are and have been aware of the general MGC investigation, we are unaware of any other investigation related to the real property.”

We tried to talk to Charles Lightbody today but no one answered the door at two of his addresses in Revere. We also tried to talk to the current real owners of the Everett property but their offices in Winthrop were dark today.

Everett City Councilor Mike McLaughlin says these questions about Charles Lightbody will not hurt Wynn’s plans.

“I don’t think he has any involvement with this project once so ever. And I think the State Gaming Commission will do whatever is necessary to make sure casino gambling is successful,” McLaughlin said.

The Gaming Commission will issue a suitability report in mid-December.

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