Suit claims Crosby urged Wynn to stay in hunt for casino license
Stephen Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission
Thursday, January 2, 2014
An explosive amended complaint in the legal spat between Caesars Entertainment and state Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby claims that Crosby, who is under scrutiny for his ties to an owner of the Everett land on which Vegas magnate Stephen Wynn wants to build a casino, personally called Wynn at a critical juncture in the casino licensing process and urged him to stay in the running.
The complaint cites Wynn expressing displeasure at an October hearing with the commission’s probing into his Macao operations, and states that Wynn considered withdrawing his application around that time.
“(N)otwithstanding his statutory role as the unbiased overseer of the Massachusetts gaming license application process, Crosby, in the company of another Commissioner, took it upon himself to place a call to Wynn and to ask Wynn to remain in the Massachusetts licensing process,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also adds Karen Wells, head of the commission’s investigations bureau, as a co-defendant to the lawsuit.
Wells oversaw the suitability review of Caesars when it was aiming to open a casino at Suffolk Downs and secure the lone greater Boston casino license, for which Wynn was and is also in the running. The proposal fell apart after the commission flagged Caesars debt load and purported ties to Russian organized crime.
“This lawsuit is nothing more than the act of a disappointed party who withdrew from the lawful licensing process,” commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. “The allegations remain baseless and we are confident that we will prevail.”
Crosby withdrew from a vote on the land deal for Wynn’s casino because one of the site’s owners, Paul Lohnes, was his longtime friend and former business partner. Crosby disclosed he has known Lohnes since they were in the National Guard in the 1970s and that they were business partners from 1983 to 1990. A land sale could be worth potentially millions to Lohnes.