Skip to main content

Boston Mobster Nailed After Wynn Bought Land for Casino

Boston mobster/friend to Darin Bufalino
Charles Lightbody spoke freely
on a prison telephone call.

POSTSCRIPT ADDED: Three men were indicted on state and federal charges earlier this month for deceiving Wynn Resorts Ltd. and state gaming regulators by hiding the fact that a man with alleged ties to the New England Cosa Nostra held a financial interest in a parcel of land purchased by the gaming company.

According to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office, the trio all held a financial interest in FBT Everett Realty LLC, the entity that owned the title to the land on which Wynn Resorts had proposed to construct a destination resort casino.

Charles Lightbody, 54, of Revere, Dustin DeNunzio, 37, of Cambridge, and Anthony Gattineri, 56, of Winchester were indicted on Oct. 2 by a federal grand jury for their role in concealing from Wynn Resorts and Massachusetts gaming regulators the financial interests of Lightbody, a convicted felon and known associate of the New England Cosa Nostra Family.

Each is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aiding and abetting.



It is alleged that, between December 2012 and July 2013, in order to conceal Lightbody’s financial interest from Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), DeNunzio, Gattineri and Lightbody concocted a story about Lightbody transferring his interest in FBT to Gattineri in exchange for a $1.7 million promissory note. To help support the deception, the three arranged for the creation and execution of two fraudulent versions of documents reflecting the transaction.

In addition, on Jan. 17, 2013, DeNunzio sent an email to Wynn Resorts that falsely stated that DeNunzio, Gattineri and a third individual together held total interest in FBT -- allegedly knowing full well that Lightbody still maintained a financial interest in the company.

A state grand jury also charged Lightbody, DeNunzio and Gattineri with impeding a gaming investigation, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. Lightbody was also indicted for assault and battery on a person over 60 resulting in bodily injury.

All three defendants, arrested on Oct. 2, will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston. A date has not yet been slated.

For wire fraud alone, the three face sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Lightbody was released on a $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet.

According to a December 2013 report by The Boston Globe, the gaming commission's own investigators found that the owners of the land, FBT Everett Realty principals DeNunzio, Gattineri and Paul Lohnes (conspicuously absent in the indictment) had "deceived" the commission by not disclosing Lightbody’s 12.5 percent ownership in the land — and by backdating documents to make it look as if Lightbody was out of the deal.
The article further noted Lightbody was caught on tape bragging to jailed mobster Darin Bufalino that he was poised to mint his fortune when the deal was signed, which occurred weeks later. 

Bufalino, described by law enforcement officials as a "long-term, well-known organized crime figure," fled the country in 1985 to avoid an armed robbery trial. He allegedly hid in Ireland for several years, where he earned money partly by working as a male model (not the greatest choice of career for a man in hiding). 

He next took off for Spain, where he was captured and extradited to the United States.
Bufalino was picked up in 2010. He fled the U.S. for Ireland
in the 1980s and worked as a male model.

Bufalino's 2010 arrest was part of a major indictment focused on the infamous  press-dubbed Rossetti organization run by New England Mafia capo Mark Rossetti, who was jailed since May of 2010 on heroine trafficking charges.

In March 2013, Mark Rossetti, the once-feared New England Mafioso was sentenced to 12 years in prison, finally bringing to a conclusion a man running a violent criminal enterprise across Eastern Massachusetts, according to the press.

That sentence was described as the third and final punishment stemming from the 2010 indictment that was considered a major blow to the Cosa ­Nostra in New England, once run by legendary mob boss Raymond Patriarca from his vending machine company on Atwells Avenue. Known as "The Office," Patriarcha ruled with an iron fist. 

Rossetti, 53, appears to have had something in common with Gregory Scarpa and James "Whitey" Bulger in that he worked for the FBI as a federal informant, which has been since labeled a "questionable relationship, given his history of crime and his continuing role as a Mafia leader. The FBI had enacted guidelines banning similar relationships in the wake of its corrupt handling of James “Whitey” Bulger," according to a Boston Globe report.

As for the Boston real estate agreement that nabbed Lightfoot, Steve Wynn had originally agreed to pay FBT Everett Realty LLC $75 million for a parcel of land on which the casino mogul planned to build a destination resort casino, which would be the only such entity in the region. 

“It’s gonna be a real home run if we can get the permits through,” Lightbody told Bufalino. What he said nexts makes one wonder if Bufalino himself was part of the deal.
"You'll own half the [expletive] city,” Lightbody said. 
The Boston Globe report from December 2013 noted that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission had voted unanimously to approve the land deal, which had been deemed Lightbody-proof.-- meaning the deal was designed to ensure that the convicted felon Lightbody, as well as any other "silent partners" would not make a fortune "if Wynn receives the sole license to operate a casino in Eastern Massachusetts."
Lightbody nevertheless told Bufalino,  that he would still profit from Wynn's casino. He had acquired an option to purchase the King Arthur’s strip club on Beacham Street if the casino was built, according to two Everett property owners.

“The other thing around the corner that goes with a casino I own,” Lightbody boasted to Bufalino. “It’s the best thing you can have with a casino. There’s only two things, women and booze, right around the corner. [Expletive] locked it up. Locked up tight as a drum.”

The Globe noted that the gaming commission investigators failed to uncover whether Bufalino was somehow linked to the Everett land deal too, but it had learned that the two men are “close” and that Lightbody had deposited money in Bufalino’s canteen account
The Globe also reported another remark made by Lightfoot to Bufalino:
“We’ve got Steve Wynn in our corner,” Lightbody told Bufalino on December 5, 2012. “Wynn is supposed to start paying $100,000 a month starting December 14.”

The Boston Herald has since reported that Lightfoot's attorney fired a volley at casino mogul Steve Wynn, saying his case will show the Las Vegas mogul is “not who he appears to be.”

“It’s very clear to me that Steve Wynn is not who he appears to be, his operation is not what it appears to be, and after a careful assessment and review of the facts, that will become apparent to all parties who are interested in this,” the attorney, Timothy Flaherty, said following his client's arraignment.

“And frankly, I’m surprised that the Gaming Commission, the attorney general, and the U.S. Attorney’s office hasn’t reached that conclusion,” Flaherty said.

Wynn and the Gaming Commission, which licensed his $1.6 billion casino last month, have maintained Wynn knew nothing about Lightbody’s ownership stake, which could have killed the casino bid under a law that bars felons from benefiting from casino development.

We've held a piece of the story, to place it here at the end to hopefully  leave you with a resonating parting thought regarding how, as noted above, the gaming commission "Lightfoot proofed" Wynn's agreement to stop any potential mobsters from earning off Wynn's purchase.

As per the gaming commission, the price Wynn paid for the 29-acre parcel was reduced from $75 million to $35 million. The owners — a group that originally (and, as we now know, still) included Lightbody though his name does not appear on documents — paid $8 million for the land just four years ago.

AP photo of Steve Wynn

POSTSCRIPT

Buying land on the cheap and selling it for top dollar was said to be how Wynn attained his first fortune.

According to  UPI.com:

Wynn was a lifelong hustler from upstate New York who had moved from running his dad's bingo halls in Utica to distributing meat to Vegas casinos to owning a piece of the Golden Nugget downtown to becoming a real estate speculator. (He got rich on a land flip, selling a small parcel Caesar's needed for expansion.)  
"In 1987 and 1988 people were writing Las Vegas off," says Rob Goldstein, president of The Venetian.  
"There had been no new casino built since the 1970s. Places that looked like the Riviera and the Sahara -- that was the Strip. There were no new hotels. The last one was MGM -- now Bally's -- in 1972. The town had stopped. Wynn was clearly the guy who bet the money. Then [Kirk] Kerkorian came along. Those two guys spawned the Mirage, Excalibur, New York New York, MGM Grand, Luxor, Venetian, Treasure Island. Suddenly there were tens of thousands of jobs."  
John L. Smith, the respected, mild-mannered columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was remarkably good-natured about Wynn's attempts to suppress his unauthorized Wynn biography, "Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn."

A chief allegation dogging Wynn is that he had ties to the Genovese family. A New York Magazine story called Clash of the Titans reported:

"In 1986, a vice-president of the Golden Nugget, Mel Harris, was forced to quit when investigators learned of Harris’s visits to Genovese-family crime boss “Fat Tony” Salerno.  
But no wiseguys have ever been connected to Wynn, and he’s always been approved for gambling licenses.  
“I've never had one dissenting vote. They've investigated every deposit I've ever made in my checking account, every check I've ever written since I was 20 years old. How many people can say that?”"

However, according to the famous "Scotland Yard Report" from the early 1980s, he was declared unfit to own casinos in England.

Some salient paragraphs from the first page of the report:

The strong inference that can be drawn from the new intelligence is that Stephen Wynn, the President of GNI (Golden Nugget, Inc.), has been operating under the aegis of the Genovese family since he first went to Las Vegas in the 1960s to become a stockholder in the New Frontier Casino."  
"It must be said that some of the data supporting this view, taken on its own, is not conclusive. However, the connections are so numerous and significant that it would be impossible to accept coincidence as a reasonable explanation."  
"It has been alleged by a confidential informant that Wynn's late father, Michael Wynn formerly Weinberg, ran his bingo parlour in Maryland under the auspices of Anthony 'Fat Tony' [Salerno, spelling corrected] then a member and now one of the ruling triumvirate of the Genovese family.

Comments

  1. Looks like old VEGAS all over again.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wynn has set his sights on Boston now. Doubt he had any ties, not saying he ever did. In fact, in the postscript I added it says:

    "In 1986, a vice-president of the Golden Nugget, Mel Harris, was forced to quit when investigators learned of Harris’s visits to Genovese-family crime boss “Fat Tony” Salerno.

    But no wiseguys have ever been connected to Wynn, and he’s always been approved for gambling licenses.



    However, Scotland Yard disagreed, if you read the report. Wynn can't open casinos in the UK.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds kinda fishy. The Boston crew from what I understand, at least when the Anguilo's were in power, always answered to the Genovese. The Genovese still have many friends in high places, but I guess this would all be speculation.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Is This Wealthy Genovese Soldier Even in the Mob?

RIP: Colombo Mobster Joe Legs, Who Helped "Clear Path" for Vic Orena

New Frank Grillo Mob Flick Streams on Netflix Friday

Happy Birthday, Bill Cutolo

War-Ridden History of Violent Colombo Crime Family

Hoodwinked: Restaurateur on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Was a Mobster

Everything to Know About the Kidnapping/Murder of Carlo Gambino's Nephew