Boston Mayor Marty Walsh met this week with representatives from Wynn Resorts, the casino company at the center of the city’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The meeting Wednesday marked the first between the mayor and Wynn representatives since the city filed a lawsuit against the gaming commission in January. The suit challenged the gaming board’s decision last fall to award Wynn with the Greater Boston area’s sole casino license, to put a resort in Everett.
Last year, the mayor had sought “host city” designation from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the prospective Everett casino. Such a designation would give residents in the neighborhood of Charlestown—which would bear the brunt of the traffic for the casino planned just over the city’s boundary with Everett—the right to vote on whether to have the resort. Host community status would also give the city significantly more leverage in seeking mitigation payments.
After the gaming commission rejected Walsh’s claim for the designation, the city and Wynn failed to reach a surrounding community agreement on mitigation pay for the casino, planned just over the city’s boundary with Everett.
Wynn received the regional license from the gaming commission in September, and the lawsuit from the city challenging that decision came in January. Walsh expanded the lawsuit in May, adding new claims. Among other things, the city is asking that the entire Boston-area licensing process be restarted, and that if the Everett casino stays, the city be granted host community status.
So, with the meeting on Wednesday, could the two sides be seeking a resolution? Walsh didn’t say much about the contents of the meeting, except to say Wynn officials reached out to arrange it.
“They reached out to us to talk about transportation issues [in Charlestown],” Walsh told Boston.com. “There’s an open lawsuit right now so we really couldn’t get into the particulars. ... They reached out to me to see if we could have a conversation, and I accepted the offer. And we sat [at City Hall] and we spoke a little bit about hypotheticals.”
Asked if the meeting was positive, Walsh said, “There’s a lawsuit, we have to figure out what to do with the lawsuit.”
No further meetings are scheduled, according to a Walsh spokesperson.
Walsh also demurred when asked whether Wynn could present a deal that would make the lawsuit go away. “No,” he said, before saying, “No comment.” He added: “It’s not a number for me, it’s about respect for Charlestown.”
Robert DeSalvio, the president of Wynn’s Everett operation, and Jacqui Krum, general counsel for Wynn, attended the meeting with the mayor. A Wynn spokesperson confirmed the meeting occurred.