Caesars Entertainment yesterday sued Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steven Crosby, charging he sabotaged its bid to run a proposed Suffolk Downs casino because of his past relationship with a co-owner of the Everett land on which archrival Steve Wynn wants to build a casino.
In its complaint, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Caesars says a firm hired by the state to investigate Caesars was preparing to recommend the company be found "suitable" to run a casino in Massachusetts, but that Crosby went out of his way to malign the company and essentially force Suffolk Downs to drop it - after it had pledged to invest more than $100 million in the project, including "tens of millions of dollars" it spent just for architectural designs and plans for the proposed casino.
Caesars charges Crosby was blinded by his past business relationship with Paul Lohnes, co-owner of the Everett parcel, and that the state went out of its way to harass Caesars even though at least one other casino applicant - in Springfield - had far worse potential ethical issues than Caesars.
The company alleges that even as the commission was telling the company it had made no decision on its suitability to run a casino here, it was telling at least one official at Boston City Hall that the proposal was as good as dead.
The company wants a judge to order Crosby to not disseminate the commission's investigative report on the company, leave it alone and, of course, pay it lots of money for the damages it allegedly incurred.
Update, 3:50 p.m.: The gaming commission issued a statement on the lawsuit:
The lawsuit filed by Caesars is without merit. The Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB), comprised of seasoned investigators, acts independently to protect the public interest. The IEB is ultimately responsible for the report it presents to the Commission. The facts in that report are the basis for the IEBâ€™s recommendation. Chairman Crosby had no role in the investigation, report or recommendations. As this is now pending litigation, neither Chairman Crosby nor the Commission will comment further on this matter.