A federal lawsuit was filed against Massachusetts gambling commission chairman Stephen Crosby by Caesars Entertainment on December 11th, 2013. Crosby is accused of intentionally interfering with a contract that would have given Caesars the right to construct a $1 billion casino at the Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston.
When the state of Massachusetts approved casinos in 2011, Suffolk Downs and Caesars formed a partnership that would construct one of the biggest destination resort casinos in the US. But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ruled that Caesars was not suitable to do business in the state in October of this year. Of particular concern to the commission was Caesars' business relationship with a person alleged to have family members involved in organized crime outside of the United States according to reports.
Suffolk Downs requested that Caesars withdraw its proposal for the casino and Caesars complied.
The lawsuit states that Caesars is "challenging the constitutionality, objectivity and fairness of the treatment of Plaintiffs by Stephen P. Crosby, individually and as Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, due to, among other things, Chairman Crosby’s conflicts of interest and his failure to timely disclose them."
Caesars contention is that Crosby has strong ties to landowner Paul Lohnes and Lohnes stands to benefit from a Wynn Resorts casino project in Everett, Mass. Caesars' claim goes on to say that Crosby failed to publicly disclose his friendship with Lohnes in a timely manner.
“Chairman Crosby and members of the commission’s staff have made untrue and misleading statements about plaintiffs and their affiliates,” the lawsuit reads. “Chairman Crosby deprived plaintiffs of their due process and equal protection rights and tortiously interfered with plaintiffs’ relationship with Suffolk Downs and right to fair consideration in the gaming suitability process.”
Caesars lawsuit claims the state's gambling commission was much tougher on Caesars due to pressure from Crosby during the suitability process, and that Crosby's actions caused the company to suffer "reputational and economic injury."
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts gambling commission said that the suit is being reviewed by the panel's attorneys according to Boston.com.