By Erik Larson
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) unwittingly planned a $1.6 billion Boston-area casino on land linked to organized crime, the U.S. said in charging three men with lying to the company and state gaming regulators about the connection.
The men were arrested today after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hiding financial links between one of the men -- an associate of the New England Family of La Cosa Nostra criminal group -- and land being sold to Wynn Resorts, federal and state prosecutors in Boston said in a statement.
The alleged crime-family member in the case is 54-year-old Charles Lightbody, who held a financial interest in the title-holder for the land, FBT Everett Realty LLC, the U.S. said. Dustin DeNunzio, 37, and Anthony Gattineri, 56, were also owners of FBT and lied to Wynn about Lightbody’s interest, according to the statement.
“The state investigation revealed that these three defendants allegedly attempted to hide Lightbody’s involvement in the company because he has a criminal record,” prosecutors said.
Wynn Resorts, the gaming company founded by Steve Wynn, was awarded the sole license in September to operate a casino in the Boston area, beating a rival plan from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. The resort will be built on the site of a former chemical plant in the suburb of Everett.
The three men are charged in yesterday’s indictment in federal court in Boston with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
A state grand jury on Sept. 29 indicted the three on charges of impeding a gaming probe, conspiracy and tampering with evidence, prosecutors said. Lightbody was also indicted for assault and battery on a person over 60 years old, they said.
“The indictments are an example of the rigor and diligence exercised by law enforcement and regulators,” Michael Weaver, a spokesman for Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, said in an e-mailed statement.
Timothy Flaherty, Lightbody’s lawyer, said in an e-mail that the case is based on “speculation, conjecture and surmise, not evidence.”
“All of the factual evidence points directly to our now oft-repeated position, that is, that Mr. Lightbody transferred all of his interest in FBT prior to the execution of the Wynn option,” Flaherty said.
Brad Bailey, Gattineri’s attorney, said in an e-mail that his client denies the allegations. “He is planning a vigorous defense and looks forward to the truth coming out in court,’ Bailey said.
DeNunzio’s lawyer couldn’t immediately be located.