BOSTON (AP) - The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission resigned Wednesday over charges of bias in the agency's ongoing investigation into Wynn Resorts.
Chairman Stephen Crosby said in a letter that he's stepping down effective immediately because both Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun recently accused him of prejudging the inquiry, which is in its final stages. He denied holding any prejudice but said he didn't want to compromise the investigation.
"With a profound sense of sadness, regret - and yes, frustration - I am resigning as Chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, in order to give you the best possible opportunity to do your work without distraction," Crosby wrote in a letter to the other commissioners. "I simply cannot let my involvement in these critical deliberations be used by others to hamper the Commission's ability to do its work, or to undermine the confidence of the public in that work."
Spokespersons for Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun didn't immediately comment.
The five-member commission is investigating how Wynn Resorts handled allegations of sexual misconduct against founder and former CEO Steve Wynn that emerged earlier this year. The commission has said information about a $7.5 million settlement with one of Wynn's accusers was kept from Massachusetts officials during an initial background check of the company before its casino license was awarded.
Wynn, who has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, sent a letter to Crosby and other commissioners through his lawyer on Sept. 17 arguing that Crosby recently made comments to reporters about the investigation that suggested he'd already made up his mind about the sexual misconduct allegations.
A lawyer for Mohegan Sun sent a letter Sept. 25 arguing that Crosby appeared to have a bias in favor of Wynn in the investigation. The Connecticut casino company and the operators of the Boston horse racing track where it had planned to build its casino have both filed lawsuits challenging Wynn's casino license.
The results of the state's investigation could have implications for Encore Boston Harbor, the $2 billion waterfront resort Wynn plans to open in Everett, across the Mystic River from Boston, next summer.
The Las Vegas company renamed the resort from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor after the state launched its investigation.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker, in a statement, said he respected Crosby's decision and that the commission must "carefully review these very troubling allegations and the actions of the company since they came to light."
The commission meets Thursday to discuss the next steps in the investigation, among other things.