Former Owners of Encore Property Lose Suit

The former owners of the land where the Encore Boston Harbor (l.) now sits have lost their lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. They said the MGC unfairly made them take a lower sale price.

The former owners of the Everett, Massachusetts site where the Encore Boston Harbor now operates lost their claim that they were owed $40 million for the land that they were forced to sell for much less than they had originally asked.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger June 16 dismissed the lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission brought by FBT Everett Realty LLC. The former owners of the land had sued because they claimed they were victims when Wynn Resorts negotiated to pay $35 million for the 35 acres instead of the $75 million it originally agreed to pay.

The difference in the price was because of the allegation (later disproved) that one of the owners of the land was felon Charles Lightbody. The Commission pressured Wynn to lower its offer to what the owners had originally paid, to prevent Lightbody from profiting from gaming—which would have violated state law.

The group claimed they could have sold the land for $75 million to be used for a big box store, which would not have required oversight by a state commission. They argued that the result amounted to a “regulatory taking,” since Lightbody had already sold his interest in the land at that time.

The judge ruled that at the time the investors bought the land for $8 million they had no expectation that they would be in a position to later sell it for a casino resort since casinos had not yet been legalized in the Bay State.