Last December 27, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) finally came out with an official declaration of Wynn Resorts’ suitability in applying for a state license to build the proposed $1.5 billion resort casino in Everett. This was after Wynn Resorts’ executive officials, including founder Steve Wynn, successfully tackled all questions raised by the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB), in a previously held suitability hearing.
Meeting the MGC’s suitability criteria was not a breeze for the company officials, since no less than CEO and Chairman Steve Wynn was required to give adequate explanations about the casino’s business practices in Macau; as well as shed light about the extent of their involvement in the controversial Everett land acquisition deal.
Issues that Clouded the Everett Land Acquisition
The property involved in what seems to be a questionable transaction to a federal grand jury and two other state agencies, used to be a plant site of Monsanto Chemical Company up to 2009. The original contract price agreed to by the seller FBT Everett Realty LLC and Wynn’s casino company was $70 million, which turned out to be beyond the current selling price pegged at $35 million. Matters became complicated when investigators stumbled across information that one of the property’s undisclosed investors in the land deal, is a convicted felon named Charles Lightbody.
Wynn officials contended they were unaware that there are probes concerning the land deal and of Lightbody’s suspected involvement. As recourse, the casino firm exercised its option to amend the agreement by getting the seller to disclose and confirm its ownership of the former Monsanto property, and to bring down the selling price to current fair market value. Moreover, Wynn Resorts sought the MGC’s approval for the revised sale agreement.