The drama over Wynn Resorts $1.7 billion waterfront project intensifies as Boston’s mayor dishes on Boston Public Radio about an alleged phone conversation with the business mogul.
On Friday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan from Boston radio station WGBH for his monthly segment, “Ask the Mayor.” Walsh told the duo that he’d had a phone call two days earlier from Wynn, stating “He threw a figure at me about money” adding “It’s really not about the money. It’s about allowing the people of Charlestown a vote.”
In the interview Walsh said he proposed a face-to-face meeting with Wynn to discuss specifics, and Wynn told him he would be available after Labor Day. Walsh added that he’s aware of the proposed help to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) along with other contributions to various areas of transportation, and that while a positive addition to the process, it’s important that the people of Charlestown have the opportunity to have their voice heard, adding that if the people are sold on the mitigation package they “might vote for it.” Walsh said Wynn offered a “significant amount of money” to come to a deal, and when asked to elaborate said it was a “nine-figure” sum.
The segment with the mayor included talk about the city of Boston’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to revoke a license for the proposed waterfront casino in Everett. The lawsuit alleges that two retired state troopers gained unauthorized access to files containing information regarding an ongoing investigation involving the current lawsuit.
Host community status was taken away from Boston by the MGC last August. The move eliminated much of Boston’s right to be compensated as well as the city’s ability to vote on whether to allow the casino to continue construction. Walsh believes the city of Boston should be considered a host community for the casino because Boston roads provide access to the Everett site.
Shortly after the interview aired, in response to the phone conversation and alleged offer, Michael Weaver, a Wynn spokesman told the Boston Herald that Steve Wynn “made no offer of additional money to the city of Boston,” during his call with Walsh, but that he had agreed to work on sending some gaming taxes the city’s way if Boston ceased its legal pursuit of host community status. However, Weaver insisted that “no new offer is on the table,” and added that the city had already been awarded a substantial mitigation plan by the MGC. That award was realized only after repeated refusals by the city to take part in direct negotiations for the added funds, according to Weaver.
The Everett Wynn is expected to open sometime in 2017.