Business

A Man Who Owned Part of the Future Encore Boston Harbor Site Is Suing Wynn Resorts

Anthony Gattineri alleges he entered a handshake agreement with a Wynn Resorts executive for nearly $20 million. The lawsuit accuses the company of fraud and breach of contract.

Rendering by Wynn

Another day, another controversy.

Wynn Resorts is getting sued yet again over an issue regarding its forthcoming Everett property, this time for breach of contract and fraud.

According to the Boston Globe, Anthony Gattineri, who was a part-owner of the land the Encore Boston Harbor will sit on, alleges Wynn Resorts failed to pony up some of the money it had committed to pay him for the property. In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Boston federal court, Gattineri claims he entered a handshake agreement with a Wynn executive for $18.6 million in exchange for his signature on a state-issued certificate that would allow the casino company to move forward with the property’s development. The Globe reports that the Wynn executive, Robert DeSalvio, eschewed putting the offer in writing but reassured him the company was good for the payment.

The money, however, never showed up.

The Everett property was initially valued at $75 million, but the sale price was cut to $35 million because Gattineri’s former co-owner, Charles Lightbody, is a convicted felon. The Boston Herald reports that because of Lightbody’s criminal history, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission took extra care to regulate the land sale and required the property be sold at market value. The loss in profit did not please Gattineri, who subsequently refused to sign an agreement necessary for Wynn to develop the resort. The handshake deal, according to the Herald, was meant to end the stalemate.  

But that’s not really what happened—at least, not according to Wynn Resorts.

“Mr. Gattineri’s claim that a publicly-traded company in a highly-regulated industry would execute a $20 million transaction on a handshake deal, without any documentation or paperwork, is implausible and will be vigorously defended by Wynn,” Greg John, the spokesman for the Encore Boston Harbor project, said in a statement to the Herald.

Gattineri’s complaint is just the latest headache for the Encore Boston Harbor team, which is set to open $2.5 billion casino in June 2019. Since news broke in January accusing Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn of carrying out a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct, the company has taken steps to right its reputation. Wynn, who denies the allegations, resigned from his post as CEO in February, and in April, the Everett project dropped his name from the forthcoming property. Last week, a former employee of the Encore Boston Harbor filed a lawsuit accusing a former project leader of sexually harassing at work.