Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Chairman Stephen Crosby confirmed that he is under investigation for a possible conflict of interest in a casino license review for Everette.
The Massachusetts Ethics Commission (MEC) has launched a preliminary inquiry after receiving a sworn statement indicating that Crosby “actively participated” in a review for a casino license in Everett, just north of Boston, after he removed himself from the proceedings.
“I have rigorously adhered to all regulations and guidance provided to me by the State Ethics Commission over the last three years,” said Crosby in a statement. “I am fully cooperating with what I understand to be a preliminary inquiry and I look forward to an expedient resolution of that inquiry.”
Crosby revealed that Paul Lohnes, the land owner of the site where Steve Wynn plans to build his $1.75 billion resort casino, is his long time friend. However, he didn’t reveal his relationship with Lohnes until he was questioned by the state police in 2013 investigating the possibility that Lohnes had secret partners with criminal records.
Sources from The Boston Globe read the sworn statement that initiated the investigation, affirming Crosby’s involvement until the MGC announced that Wynn Resorts has defeated rival Mohegan Sun to win the right to develop a casino in the Boston area in September.
According to the statement, Crosby actively participated in the commission’s activities related to the award (of Wynn’s casino license) after claiming to have recused himself. The author of the statement also believed that Crosby’s actions violated several sections of the state conflict-of-interest law.
If proven that Crosby violated any section of the conflict-of-interest law, the MEC can impose a civil penalties up to $10,000. For violations of the law’s bribery section, the civil penalties can increase to $25,000. MEC would also refer the matter to the state attorney general to decide if Crosby should be prosecuted.
The investigation is similar to suit filed by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in October, accusing the MGC of giving preferential treatment to Wynn Resorts’ project.
MGC filed a motion last month to dismiss Boston’s 152-page lawsuit, describing it as “verbose, repetitive, argumentative, and confusing.”