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Peter Picknelly in Legal Controversy Between Two Casino Developers

Screen Shot 2012-10-11 at 11.37.14 AM(PALMER, Mass.) (WGGB)–Springfield businessman Peter Picknelly finds himself in the middle of a tug of war between two casino developers.

Picknelly is now working with Penn National Gaming and its casino proposal for Springfield’s North End, a proposal that would include the taking of Picknelly’s Peter Pan bus lines and the Springfield Republican buildings.

However back in 2008, Picknelly invested in the Palmer casino venture, a proposal that Mohegan Sun wants to develop off the Massachusetts turnpike.

Picknelly says he has separated himself from the Palmer deal.

Attorney Stephen Spelman who represents the Northeast group which owns the property in Palmer said last August they got a letter saying Picknelly wanted to withdraw. But Spellman wrote back saying you can’t withdraw,”Under the law in Massachusetts if you’re a joint venturer or in a partnership you are bound and you also in any contract in Massachusetts have an obligation of good faith and fair dealing and we feel he needs to live up to that” says Spelman.

Meanwhile,  the Palmer group supporting a casino says they are very much in the hunt for a Western Mass. casino despite the controversy over Peter Picknelly’s connection,”We move forward and we’re positive out here in Palmer, we’ve got a beautiful site, 300 acres , strong community support,” says Jennifer Baruffaldi, of Citizens for Jobs and growth in Palmer.

So with the Palmer group saying Picknelly is legally bound to them, and Picknelly saying otherwise, what happens next,”We hope it doesn’t end up in court, we never look for litigation but the Northeast Group is prepared to enter into litigation if Mr. Picknelly is not willing to live up to his obligation to the Northeast Group<” says Attorney Stephen Spelman.

Picknelly invested $500,000 in the Palmer project. He’s asked for the money back but so far has not received it.

Picknelly released a statement which in part read,”The legal assertions being made ny Northeast Gaming are completely frivolous and smack of desperation.”

And Eric Schippers, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at Penn National Gaming says,”We are well aware of the legal claims made by Northeast Gaming Group, Inc. about our partner Peter Picknelly.

We have thoroughly reviewed the matter and the underlying agreement, and find the claims to be without legal merit whatsoever.”


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