- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - State gambling regulators say they see no wrongdoing by Wynn Resorts following last week’s arrests of three owners of land the company wants to develop into a casino.

The casino company “clearly” had no role in the wrongdoing, acting Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman James McHugh said Thursday following a briefing by the commission’s investigative staff and state police.

He noted that investigators have determined that the three men, Charles Lightbody, Anthony Gattineri and Dustin DeNunzio, will have no ongoing role in Wynn’s $1.6 billion development.

The three men are accused of trying to conceal from Wynn and state regulators the fact that Lightbody, a convicted felon, would profit from the sale of the Everett land, in violation of state regulations. The three have pleaded not guilty to state and federal criminal charges, including wire fraud.

Suffolk Downs, the Boston horse racing track where Mohegan Sun had hoped to develop a casino, has asked the commission to reconsider its decision to grant Wynn a casino license in light of the arrests. In a letter sent before Thursday’s meeting, the track argued that there are “grave doubts” that Wynn can acquire the land within the commission’s 60-day window, given the indictment.

Federal prosecutors say they will move to seize any profits the three men have made in the deal for the 30-acre property, site of a former chemical plant.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. signed an option on the land in December 2012 and has been paying a company formed by the three men, FBT Everett Realty LLC, $100,000 a month for the right to purchase the property for $35 million.

The casino company, which is based in Las Vegas, said the issues raised by Suffolk Downs have already been thoroughly vetted by regulators.

“Indictments of other individuals have absolutely no impact (on) our contractual ability to obtain control of the land and to move our project forward on schedule,” Wynn said in a statement.

McHugh said the commission is still reviewing Suffolk Downs’ letter. He said the company will give its first official status report to the commission in a few weeks.

“We’ll have a better chance to see how that plays out then,” McHugh said.

In a related development, the commission also announced Thursday that it will hold public hearings Oct. 20 and 21 on proposals to continue thoroughbred horse racing in Massachusetts now that Suffolk Downs, the region’s last such track, is closing.

The New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has proposed leasing the track from its owner, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, and continuing races next year. Brockton Fairgrounds owner George Carney also has applied for a license to return races to the 5/8th-mile track.

The commission must decide on the applications by Nov. 15.

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