SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – First on wwlp.com, the former owner of the Paramount Theater in Springfield has filed a racketeering lawsuit against Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, New England Farm Council Workers President Herbie Flores, the Springfield Republican and others.
Steven Stein, who owned the Paramount Theater and Skyplex in Springfield, claims the defendants worked together to force Stein to sell the Paramount Theater to the New England Farm Workers Council with the ultimate goal of using the entertainment venue to partner with or sell to a potential casino developer.
The 37 page lawsuit was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Springfield.
Other defendants include Peter Sygnator, chairman of the Liquor License Commission and Assistant Tax Collector for the city of Springfield. The City of Springfield itself. John Motto, Chief Financial Officer for the New England Farm Workers Council. Penn National Gaming, Peter Pan Bus Lines CEO Peter Picknelly, Falcon Hotel Corp. President Paul Picknelly, former President of the Springfield Business Improvement District Francis Cataldo, real estate appraisal company Richard Kane & Associates, John Santaniello of Richard Kane & Associates and certified appraiser Robert Sluka.
The New England Farm Workers Council bought the Paramount Theater on March 4th, 2011. That day the lawsuit claims that the Farm Workers Council revealed they received a $300,000 Community Block Grant from the City of Springfield. A year and a half later, Penn National Gaming partnered with the New England Farm Workers Council to use the Theater.
Mayor Sarno ultimately selected MGM over Penn National to be the city’s casino partner.
Stein’s attorney in this case is Michael Kogut, known to be strongly opposed to a casino in Springfield. The lawsuit asks the court for an undisclosed amount of money.
The 22News I-Team will continue to follow this story, stay with us for updates as new details emerge.