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Lawsuit alleges Wynn cheated to win casino license

A lawsuit accuses casino mogul Steve Wynn and the company he founded of lying and covering up misconduct to unfairly win a license for a casino in Everett. (Associated Press)

BOSTON — Suffolk Downs is betting it can hit the jackpot with a $1 billion lawsuit against casino mogul Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court Monday under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) by Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, alleges Wynn Resorts lied in their application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and concealed Wynn’s sexual misconduct to illegally secure a license for the Everett casino scheduled to open next summer.

Suffolk Downs, which also competed for the single casino license in Boston, said the Revere and East Boston racetrack would have prevailed over Wynn Resorts had there been an “honest competition.”

Instead, the lawsuit alleges, Wynn was granted a license to operate a casino on a toxic site loaded with levels of arsenic still so high, despite remediation, that a daycare center is not permitted on the grounds.

The suit claims Wynn purchased the parcel “from associates of La Cosa Nostra” and a friend of and former business partner of the chairman of the commission, Stephen Crosby.

The lawsuit also alleges Wynn submitted false statements to the Gaming Commission about the true ownership of the Everett site; threatened and committed extortion to suppress voter turnout in favor of Suffolk Downs as the preferred site; and made illegal campaign contributions in violation of the Gaming Act.

In addition, the suit said recent public disclosures have revealed how unfit the Wynn team is when Wynn and several of his associates were forced to resign or were fired when “Steve Wynn’s long and sordid history of inappropriate sexual conduct was finally disclosed, together with their pattern of concealment through lies, omissions and payoffs.”

While the lawsuit does not ask for specific monetary damages, Suffolk Downs estimates it to be more than $1 billion.

Wynn resigned as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts in February, and the company renamed its casino Encore Boston Harbor after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him. Wynn denies the allegations.

Wynn Resorts dismissed the suit in a statement Tuesday. They said the claims are frivolous and they will mount a vigorous defense.

In January, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission launched a review of Wynn Resorts’ suitability to hold its casino license following the sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn. The probe is expected to be completed shortly.

In May, the commission agreed to a request that Wynn’s name be removed from the license in Massachusetts. Wynn’s lawyer argued his client no longer had a financial interest in or a business relationship with his former company following his resignation.

But the panel said it would continue investigating Wynn Resorts and its handling of the sexual misconduct allegations.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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