Lawsuit Adds More to Crosby Accusations

Caesars Entertainment has added another accusation to its lawsuit against Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby (l.).

Lawsuit Adds More to Crosby Accusations

The lawsuit by Caesars Entertainment that intends to take down the Massachusetts Gaming Commission by targeting its chairman, Stephen Crosby has added a potentially explosive element to its charges.

An amendment to the complaint last week added the claim that Crosby, who the gaming giant already accuses of showing favoritism to Steve Wynn’s Everett casino proposal by working subtly against Caesars erstwhile proposal in Revere and East Boston, called Wynn last year and asked him to stay in the licensing competition for the Boston metro gaming zone.

During a hearing last fall Wynn complained about the commission’s questions about his business dealings in Macau. The lawsuit claims that Wynn considered withdrawing his application and was prevented from doing so when Crosby telephoned him and asked him to stay in the process.

According to the complaint, “Notwithstanding his statutory role as the unbiased overseer of the Massachusetts gaming license application process, Crosby, in the company of another Commissioner, took it upon himself to place a call to Wynn and to ask Wynn to remain in the Massachusetts licensing process.”

Wynn, quoted by the Boston Herald, says this is a distortion of what happened. He claims he called Crosby, who then called him back. “Early this fall I reached out to the Chairman of the Commission and my phone call was returned. During that conversation, I offered to withdraw if the Commission was uncomfortable with our operations in Macau.”

He continued with the process and was found suitable by the commission to operate a casino in the Bay State. Wynn calls Caesars’s statements, “a shameless, desperate attempt by Caesars to deflect attention from the serious issues raised in their investigation, including their current financial condition.” Caesars spent $100 million in its efforts to build a casino resort in Massachusetts.

Caesars CEO Gary Loveman is quoted in the complaint as having been told by Wynn about the conversation

Caesars also accuses the commission of ignoring the recommendations of the firm it hired to vet Caesars, Spectrum Gaming, which, it claims, said Caesars was suitable as an applicant. Spectrum has denied this assertion.

The amended lawsuit also adds Karen Wells, who is in charge of the commission’s investigative arm, as a co-defendant.

Caesars maintains that Crosby, because of a then undisclosed friendship and former business relationship with a member of the Wynn project, in some way influenced Caesars’s former partner, Suffolk Downs Racetrack, to ask Caesars to withdraw from the project, which it did. Suffolk Downs later teamed up with the Mohegan Sun, its current partner in the project.

The commission maintains that the lawsuit amounts to sour grapes by Caesars. “The allegations remain baseless and we are confident that we will prevail,” said a spokesman last week.