Suffolk Downs Operators Seek $3 Billion In Lawsuit Over Casino License

The operator of Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Mass., is seeking $3 billion in a lawsuit filed against casino executive Steve Wynn and others claiming that Wynn Resorts engaged in criminal activity to secure a casino license.

The suit was filed on Sept. 17 by Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC in United States District Court of Massachusetts. It alleges Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) laws were violated by the various defendants at several stages of the license approval process, including known association with organized crime members.

Wynn received approval in September 2014  from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a casino to be built north of Boston on land in Everett, Mass., that the lawsuit claims is 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.”

The suit also alleges the land was purchased from a partnership that included “associates of La Cosa Nostra and a friend and former business partner of the chairman of the Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby.”

Crosby, who is not named as a defendant, did not file required ethics disclosures on a timely basis involving contacts made with the casino site’s landowners, the suit alleges. The suit also claim Steve Wynn solicited favors from Crosby during the license approval process. Crosby recused himself during a review of the land purchase, according to published reports. Another report said the State Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against Crosby.

Wynn was forced to step down from his role as head of Wynn Resorts earlier this year amid multiple charges of sexual misconduct. The suit refers to Wynn as a “serial sexual predator.”

The principal in Sterling Suffolk Racecourse is Richard Fields, who had sought the casino license for Suffolk Downs. According to the suit, Fields, who developed the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,  “spearheaded the effort to save horseracing at Suffolk Downs by being the driving force behind enactment of the (Massachusetts) Gaming Act. One purpose of the Gaming Act, which recognized the importance of maintaining existing horseracing, was to encourage the continuation of horseracing. That is why the statute expressly provides that an applicant for a live racing license could receive a gaming license only if live racing would continue and, in fact, increase.”

Since losing its bid for a casino license, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse sold the racetrack property. Its current owner leases the track for racing while soliciting bids for development from various companies, including Amazon. Track operators said they intend to race over several weekends in 2019.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse claims the loss of the license cost the company $1 billion and seeks treble damages in the suit.

Wynn Resorts in a statement to the Boston Globe said the claims are “frivolous and clearly without foundation.”

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse complaint

The post Suffolk Downs Operators Seek $3 Billion In Lawsuit Over Casino License appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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