The city of Boston has cast a wide net in its lawsuit against the Massachusetts gambling commission, issuing more than a dozen subpoenas Monday for State Police officers, a former Patrick administration official, and private business people with connections to the Everett site where Steve Wynn plans to build a casino.
Among those subpoenaed were current and former state troopers, including two retired troopers, Joseph Flaherty and Stephen Matthews. In the subpoenas, the city’s lawyers allege that the two men were private investigators working on behalf of Wynn and were allowed into the state attorney general’s office to read confidential files in the criminal investigation of Charles Lightbody.
Lightbody, a felon, was later charged with having a secret ownership interest in the Everett property. In addition to case files, the attorney general’s office at that time had in its possession prison tapes of conversations between Lightbody and inmate Darin Bufalino in which Lightbody boasted about owning the land.
In its subpoenas to Flaherty and Matthews, the city’s lawyers ask for copies of all notes or reports concerning the “unauthorized access to files of an ongoing criminal investigation of Lightbody including any surveillance video, photographs, wiretap call logs, and other documents. They are also seeking copies of invoices or payments to determine who was paying the retired troopers.”
A spokesman for Wynn said the company did not employ either Flaherty or Matthews.
“We are unaware of this incident and unaware of who these two individuals are. They were not and are not Wynn employees,” said Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment.
Gambling commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll in a statement called the round of subpoenas “a continuation of the City’s costly legal strategy to litigate meritless claims in the press. The Commission will continue to address these issues in the appropriate legal forum as we have consistently done,” she wrote.
The gambling commission is seeking to delay all the subpoenas until the commission’s motions to dismiss Boston’s lawsuit are heard on July 9.
In their suit, the city’s lawyers have alleged that the gambling commission bent the rules to make sure Wynn was awarded the sole Eastern Massachusetts casino license. The subpoenas issued Monday went to people who they believe may help substantiate their charges.
They are asking the witnesses to appear for depositions starting next week and to bring documents spelled out in the subpoenas.
One of the subpoenas went to Hard Rock Cafe, which looked at the Everett site before Wynn, and actually signed an agreement to purchase the land before backing out in the fall of 2012. Boston’s lawyers want to know if the gambling commission chairman, Stephen Crosby, steered Hard Rock to the site in 2012. Crosby has denied that allegation.
Also subpoenaed was Richard Davey, the former state secretary of transportation, who was in charge when the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority sold a 1.75-acre parcel of land to Wynn for $6 million last summer. The Baker administration put the land in escrow after determining the sale — done before the state could complete an environmental review — was improper.
Davey, who could not be reached for comment, was asked to bring any documents detailing his “interactions” with the governor’s office over the potential sale of the MBTA property to Wynn.
The city’s lawyers also subpoenaed John Preston, a businessman and former MIT administrator, who has worked with Paul Lohnes, one of the three former owners of the 30-acre parcel. The city’s lawyers want to know whether Crosby, who is Lohnes’s friend and former business partner, may still have business interests with Preston and Lohnes. Crosby has said his business relationship with Lohnes ended with their failed business in the late 1980s.
The State Ethics Commission launched an investigation of Crosby after receiving allegations last summer that his involvement continued after formally recusing himself. Crosby withdrew from deliberating over the Eastern Massachusetts casino license in May 2014 because of his relationship with Lohnes. The license was issued in September.
The ethics commission dismissed the complaint last week, citing a “lack of evidence.”
In May, Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston filed a greatly expanded version of the lawsuit he filed in January, alleging that the gambling commission engaged in a “corrupt process to favor Wynn” over rival Suffolk Downs in Revere and that the action “has irreparably tainted the gaming licensing process.’’
The city has asked a judge to revoke the license and bar the commissioners from taking further actions involving the Eastern Massachusetts casino license.
At the time the city filed its expanded suit, the gambling commission issued a statement saying that “each license award was based solely on a meticulous, objective, and highly transparent evaluation of each gaming proposal. We are confident that this complex licensing process was administered in a comprehensive and fair manner, although disappointing to interested parties seeking an alternative result.”
Andrea Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.