Most people would be psyched to quadruple their investment in four years, especially when they’re pocketing millions.
Not FBT Everett Realty. These investors have gone to court to seek a much bigger return for the Everett property they sold to Wynn Resorts for a casino. First, they sued the state gaming commission in Suffolk Superior Court. Last month, they filed a separate suit against their former law firm.
This small group of investors scored when Wynn initially agreed to buy their polluted site for $75 million. (FBT had acquired the 30-plus acres for $8 million in 2009.)
But in November 2013 Wynn dropped its price to $35 million -- the value of the land if the buyer wasn't building a casino. The reason: Wynn was notified by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that the deal might not get approval due to the criminal record of an FBT investor. FBT claims the person in question, Charles Lightbody, had cashed out by the time the Wynn deal was done.
Key FBT associates were acquitted in 2016 of criminal charges that they illegally hid Lightbody’s involvement from investigators. Now they want more money, perhaps $40 million more. FBT recently argued that the gaming commission’s intervention amounts to an illegal taking of property, because it resulted in such a large drop in the sale price. The gaming commission’s lawyers say FBT's claims don't hold water.
The two sides are awaiting a Suffolk Superior Court judge’s decision. FBT’s new lawsuit against law firm Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, meanwhile, claims that poor legal representation caused this mess.
The new casino industry was bound to create losers as well as winners. But not everyone with a jackpot walks away satisfied.