EVERETT — Residents of Waters Avenue had been fighting a proposed 200-unit apartment building for five years, warning city officials that it was just too big, with too little parking for a short street already choked with cars.
But developer Gary P. DeCicco — a felon with a history of fires of suspicious origin on his properties and nasty disputes with the government over his unpaid taxes — found a new ally when Mayor Carlo DeMaria took office in 2008.
DeMaria stood virtually alone in support of DeCicco’s project at a key 2010 hearing, admitting that even his staff opposed the plan, meeting minutes show. But with the mayor’s blessing, DeCicco won the approvals he needed, setting up DeCicco and his partners to make millions when they sold the land to another developer as soon as they secured their permits.
The mayor’s relationship with DeCicco and another felon, their mutual friend Charles Lightbody, sheds new light on the controversy over Steve Wynn’s proposal to build a $1.6 billion casino in Everett along the Mystic River. DeCicco and Lightbody were among the investors who bought the land in 2009, but their names disappeared from official documents by the time Wynn arrived in 2012.
When the Globe reported late last year that the two felons might be among the owners, the news threatened to derail the casino proposal, and spurred a federal and state investigation into potential secret owners and whether anyone gave false statements to government officials.
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