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Mass. horse track says it should have won license, not Wynn

Updated February 18, 2019 - 5:25 pm

A Massachusetts company is using Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s planned settlement of a Nevada complaint as evidence that it was unsuitable for a gaming license and shouldn’t have been picked to build a resort near Boston.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, which lost a bid for a gaming license in eastern Massachusetts to Wynn, on Friday filed a six-count lawsuit against the Las Vegas company, which is building the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor due to open in June.

Suffolk believes the process to award the license was tainted because the company should have been found unsuitable, based on admissions the company has made in a stipulation for settlement in a complaint against it from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board and Wynn Resorts agreed last month to settle a 10-count complaint saying the company failed to investigate allegations of sexual harassment.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to consider the settlement at its Feb. 28 meeting.

Suffolk, which operates Suffolk Downs in East Boston, is seeking a jury trial and is asking compensatory damages in excess of $1 billion that can be tripled under U.S. and Massachusetts laws.

The lawsuit alleging racketeering and violations of the state’s gaming laws was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against Wynn and the company’s Massachusetts subsidiary. Also named in the lawsuit were Wynn CEO Matt Maddox; former Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn; former Wynn legal counsel Kimmarie Sinatra; and a Wynn real estate partner, FBT Everett Realty LLC.

A spokesman for Wynn Resorts said the complaint is meritless.

“This is a repackaging of the baseless claims Suffolk Racing has been making since they failed to win a license based on the merits four years ago,” the spokesman said in an email. “We will continue to defend ourselves in court.”

Efforts to contact representatives of Steve Wynn, Sinatra and FBT Everett Realty were unsuccessful.

Suffolk accuses Wynn of “fraud, kickbacks, political cronyism crossing the line of legality” in the selection process. The lawsuit also cites “Steve Wynn’s long and sordid history of inappropriate and at times criminal sexual conduct.” Wynn, who stepped down as chairman and CEO in February 2018, denies all harassment allegations.

The racketeering accusations stem from deals alleged to have been made by the company with former Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and with several municipal leaders.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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