SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The conflict between two gaming groups in Palmer and Springfield just went up a notch.
Northeast Gaming Group filed a lawsuit Thursday afternoon in Hampden County Superior Court; the defendants: Peter Picknelly and Penn National Gaming.
After not being able to come to a resolution over a $500,000 investment, the Northeast Gaming Group will file a lawsuit against Peter Picknelly and Penn National Gaming on Thursday.
Northeast Gaming Group owns the land that Mohegan Sun wants to build a casino on.
Peter Picknelly is a partner with Penn National in Springfield's North End. They partnered this summer.
Documents the 22News I-Team obtained show in 2008, Picknelly invested $500,000 with the Northeast Gaming Group. This past July he tried to get out of that investment. That's the issue that needs to be resolved. Northeast Gaming is suing for more than the $500,000 he invested.
"Mr. Picknelly betrayed his obligations to Northeast Gaming and the people in Palmer on the Palmer project. Any profits that might come to him are then put into a trust for the people deserve them", says Attorney Stephen Spelman of Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, P.C.
Penn National Gaming sent us this statement from Eric Schippers, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at Penn National Gaming.
"We are aware of the legal filing today. To continue to press forward with such a frivolous case is unfortunate, and is a clear sign that this group has zero confidence in their ability to compete fairly for the Western Massachusetts casino license. As we've said before, we have thoroughly reviewed the matter and the underlying agreement, and find the claims to be without any legal merit whatsoever."
Spelman explains why Penn National is named in the lawsuit as a co-defendent, "When Penn National did that (partnering with Picknelly), what they did is they is they aided and abetted his breach of his duties to the Palmer project and they also interfered with the prospective business relationships that the people in Palmer were looking forward to."
This past July (2012), Picknelly asked for his money back; that request was denied. The lawyer for the group in Palmer told 22News when Picknelly partnered with Penn National he was still invested in Palmer and is still tied to that money. Picknelly's attorney told 22News that he verbally asked out of this deal in 2011 and has since transferred his entire interest to a longtime business associate.