The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) didn’t take any drastic action at last Thursday’s meeting concerning the federal indictment of three men in the Everett land deal, but it did issue a stern – if not comical – warning to those who might ponder being less than truthful to the Commission in the future.
“As we move forward…, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) will not only be continually monitoring the suitability of licensees, but we will also be investigating potential vendors and employees, as well as resort-casino applicants for Region C,” said IEB Director Karen Wells at Thursday’s meeting. “The events of last week underscore the continuing validity of the principles of integrity and honesty which are the cornerstone of our investigations. As such, I have three pieces of advice for individuals who we come across during these investigations. Piece of advice number one; do not lie to Commission Investigators. It would be foolish to assume that we will not figure it out. Our track record speaks for itself. Piece of advice number two; do not lie to Commission Investigators. Honesty is the best policy. If there is a problematic issue, the Commission will work to see if there is a fair and reasonable solution. Piece of advice number three; do not lie to Commission Investigators. Lying to Commission investigators is a crime and we will refer concerns to state and federal criminal law enforcement authorities. The role of those authorities is to proceed with a criminal investigation where appropriate – and make no mistake, they will.”
That was evidenced by the fact that federal and state prosecutors moved forward last week with the indictments of Charlie Lightbody, of Revere, and two other men (Dustin DeNunzio of Cambridge and Anthony Gattinieri of Wilmington) based upon information provided by the IEB.
Lightbody has vowed to fight the charges and denies allegations that he lied to investigators about his role in owning the land where a Wynn Resorts casino is planned.
All three are charged with varying wire fraud charges.
Most importantly though, the MGC said it felt assured that Wynn Resorts had nothing to do with the alleged criminal activity and had no knowledge of the purported scheme.
Given that Lightbody and the two other men will have no role in the operations of the casino, Commissioners felt confident to move forward with no adverse action regarding the decision to award Wynn Resorts the Greater Boston casino license.
Commissioners Jim McHugh and Enrique Zuniga said they felt the system had worked the way it was supposed to in that alleged site schemes were uncovered and turned over to the proper authorities for prosecution.
That determination came after a frenzied few days where some Suffolk Downs officials had called for the MGC to review their decision. Suffolk COO Chip Tuttle had said that there were major problems with the land deal that could prevent the Everett proposal from coming into operation legally.
“On behalf of our workers and the horsemen and women here, we felt an obligation to raise these issues to the Gaming Commission, especially in light of new information regarding the Everett land and the continuing questions around the suitability of individuals associated with that land,” said Tuttle last Wednesday. “We are asking the Commission to re-examine incurable defects in this process that prevent the Everett proposal from complying with the law.”