Wynn Boston May Have Trouble Opening Due to Mob Ties

Steve Wynn has exited stage left from Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations. The hotel chain, which earns the bulk of its profits in Macau, is considered an acquisition target.

But the pending opening of its new $2.5 billion Boston Harbor property, slated for next year, is now in jeopardy. Just last week a constructor worker died on site. And now its gambling license may be at risk.

It turns out that the property was purchased from a felon and an individual with alleged mob ties. The sale was approved by the state gambling commission but the histories of property owners were not part of that record at the time.

Credit: Wynn Boston Harbor

Wynn agreed to purchase the land for $75 million. Then the mob ties came out.

Around the same time, a Massachusetts prison official overheard an ex-convict, Charles Lightbody, bragging on a recorded telephone line. He told an inmate with mob ties that he was hoping to make a killing on the Wynn land sale, according to court filings. Lightbody, who had a minority stake in the Everett site, had convictions going back decades for assault, grand larceny and identify theft, and was said by federal law enforcement to be an associate of the New England family of La Cosa Nostra.

Wynn wound up using that to drive the price down to $35 million, so that the sellers wouldn’t get a premium because the land would be used for a casino.

The sellers were charged with hiding this material information about their past, and were acquitted.
They claim Wynn executives were aware of the ownership history of the property at the time they made the deal. It’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t have investigated everything surrounding such a purchase deeply.

Now the sellers are suing Wynn over the reduced purchase price, and Mohegan Sun which lost out on the gambling license to Wynn is suing as well.

This would hardly be the first hotel project with questionable ties. The old Diplomat hotel, torn down and rebuilt with at least $800 million from the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters pension fund, had management of the investment given to an independent fiduciary to avoid self-dealing. The multi-billion dollar construction project eventually opened late and over budget as a Westin (it’s now part of Hilton’s portfolio).

However because it’s gambling it involves stricter regulation and a different form of organized crime, politics.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interesting. There is also (at least) one privately owned cruise line whose investors are far more interested in cash flow than profit and though it has a major U.S. presence, no one has investigated the identity of investors who may only be identified by numbered bank accounts in Luxembourg.

  2. Don’t forget, Caesars was found “unsuitable” because of their partnership with the Gansvort in Las Vegas so they had to leave the Suffolk Downs bid. If Caesars was unsuitable, shouldn’t Wynn also be, unsuitable?

  3. Gary you have no idea about BOS, you are not from our area nor do you live here or appear to have spent any meaningful time here.

    The property isn’t on Boston Harbor it’s on the Mystic River. You clearly don’t know our area well at all and your ignorance shows.

    You seriously have no clue here like when you insert yourself in AA labor relations and operational matters.

    Stick to what you know like which champagne Qatar serves in F on a given route.

  4. Gary hotels use silly names as you well know especially for marking landmarks and towns. Many hotels in L.A. claim to be in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica but actually are not.

  5. @Josh G – you complain when I don’t use the formal name for DFW, but here I’m using the hotel’s name and you’re complaining? alright.

    at least in your most recent comment you acknowledge that i *know* something !

  6. “However because it’s gambling it involves stricter regulation and a different form of organized crime, politics.” – yea let’s not confuse organized crime with politics please. It minimizes just how bad organized crime is. If you have seen organized criminal organizations up close and how they operate you would understand its nothing like the movies and the brutality the comes along with it is not something that you should even slightly jest about. Its a real problem. Politics is dirty but its in no way comparable to organized crime.

  7. My god can’t we all be critical yet helpful about details/suggestions without resorting to rudeness and what seems like personal attacks? Mr.Leff writes passionately for years now something I personally appreciate
    Though I think I could help many folks in a blog I will never likely do so due to the mean
    spirit of some
    I personally am very grateful to a number of the bloggers that dedicate a part of their busy day & travel to generously contribute to my knowledge and the value they bring to me as a reader .
    Certainly some details do have to get amended along the way.
    Try writing your own blog and being perfect each and every time you post!
    Much rather being the one knit picking and criticizing
    G’day ;):)

  8. Chill, Josh G. This Beantown resident is delighted that Wynn and Co will soon be escorted out of MA. Hope they have a uneventful trip back to wherever they slimed out of. Bostonians don’t want or need Wynn here.

  9. Geesh, people can be so mean-spirited online.

    I am from the area and I didn’t even see the news in Boston.com. Damn it. In any case, thanks for sharing.

  10. Funny how the mob knew what location would get the casino license… it was a vote in the state any of 3 locations but they invested millions in dead land just hoping? They like gambling but they don’t gamble. like the big dig parking lot lease $30M so construction crews can park near work (mob still owns Mass)

  11. Fear nothing, trump will eventually pardon all mobsters involved like he did with that corrupt Arizona sherriff and so many others.

  12. As I see it, it is a beautiful structure, revitalizing an otherwise depressed area and a place to bring life and funds to the region.

    Please let if go forward, beauty, fun, and revenue, I’m all for it!

  13. Wow, such bleak downer comments. What is wrong with bringing beauty, fun, and revenue to such a depressed area? I believe this project will bring new life and elegance to our city. We will just have to wait and see,.

  14. @ little bear & White Rose,

    2 br apartments already go for $2500+ a month, casino and possibly amazon HQ2 will be a strain, we needed a little ugly around boston, I make 6 figures but can’t afford Boston area…

    Back to travel topics: I hope he sells to MGM resorts at least we can get a decent loyalty program MLife! hyatt partner 😉

  15. @Gary you compared organized crime to politics and made light of the problem of organized crime. I point that out to you and now you are citing casualties in war zones. Not really sure the relevance unless you are trying to imply that the men and women who serve this country in combat are no different than the mafia goons who torture and kill civilians in the US on behalf of criminal enterprises.

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