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Lawsuit Accuses Wynn Resorts Of Mob Ties, Building Casino On Site 'Loaded' With Carcinogen

Litigation Says Encore Boston Harbor Site Full Of Arsenic


The $2.5 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino from Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts is under construction and about 70 percent finished, but a local racetrack operator is trying to put a stop to it with explosive claims in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court.

The allegations could prove to be devastating for poker players in the area eyeing the opening of the casino and its 90-table poker room in mid-2019.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, operator of Suffolk Downs in Boston, is claiming that Wynn Resorts violated that Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act in securing state approval for the casino-hotel. Suffolk lost in its efforts to turn its property into a Las Vegas-style casino.

Wynn Resorts in 2014 won the sole license for casino gambling in that region of Massachusetts, but in the complaint, Suffolk Downs says that license is invalid. It wants $3 billion in damages.

Wynn Resorts has called the suit frivolous, according to the Associated Press.

The suit names disgraced Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn, who cashed out of his former company this year after The Wall Street Journal in January published a report outlining decades worth of sexual misconduct allegations. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is also currently mulling over the license it gave Wynn Resorts, fueling speculation that Wynn Resorts may try to sell the property. However, the suit claims corruption on behalf of the commission in granting Wynn approval in the first place. Wynn received a 50-year license.

The commission eyed about $260 million in annual tax revenue from Wynn’s casino.

The suit alleges that Wynn Resorts engaged in “corruption of the application process.” Suffolk claims that the publicly traded Wynn Resorts and its executives “conspired to fix the application process, circumvent laws in place to prevent the infiltration of mob elements, and interfere and eliminate various regulations aimed at protecting the public at large.”

Additionally, the lawsuit claims the site of the casino, which formerly was home to the Monsanto Chemical Company, is unsafe for a business that serves food and beverages. Several other chemical companies were housed on the land from 1868 to 1983, so the site has been toxic for well over 100 years. Suffolk says Wynn has been unable to clean up the site.

“The Wynn Defendants were granted a license to operate their casino on a toxic waste site loaded with levels of arsenic still so high that a child day care center would not be permitted to be housed there, even after the site was remediated and the regulations amended to countenance higher levels,” Suffolk alleges.

According to the American Cancer Society, arsenic is cancer-causing. It can also cause many other less severe health problems. Long-term exposure can result in liver and kidney damage. Hundreds of construction workers are currently involved with the site. About 4,000 permanent casino-hotel workers have been eyed for the property.

In May, Wynn Resorts said it spent about $68 million to move “nearly a million tons of soil and sediment on land and water.” The company said the cleanup took 18 months. The Mystic River Watershed Association praised Wynn Resorts’ efforts.

To make matters worse, the suit claims, the allegedly toxic land was secured thanks to Wynn Resorts’ alleged relationship with organized crime.

“The Wynn Defendants purchased the toxic site from an entity owned jointly by associates of La Cosa Nostra and a friend and former business partner of the Chairman of the Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby. Not only did this sale run afoul of the Gaming Act, but this criminally-tainted entity was actually brought on to provide services to the Wynn Defendants and paid $100,000 per month […] At least one of those ‘service providers’ used threats and physical violence to further the Wynn Defendants’ pursuit of the gaming license. This was exactly the situation that the Gaming Act sought to prevent.”

Furthermore, the suit claims that Wynn Resorts committed extortion “in order to suppress voter turnout” for a local approval of the Suffolk Downs project.

Suffolk says it was injured to the tune of at least $1 billion, an amount that it hopes will be trebled to $3 billion thanks to a jury trial.

Suffolk alleges that the mayor of Everett, where the casino sits, is cozy with the mob.

The suit claims that Wynn Resorts also intentionally hid information on its casino business in China. “The Wynn Defendants knew that any serious investigation would uncover shady business dealings in Macau that could create suitability concerns and wished to keep those issues as concealed as Steve Wynn’s career as a sexual predator was.”

Caesars Entertainment Corp. was once involved with the proposed casino project from Suffolk. Caesars is not a party to the litigation.

Tags: Wynn,   Boston,   Massachusetts