State, cities spar in court over Wynn Resorts casino license
Wynn planning $1.7B resort casino to open in 2018
UPDATED 9:10 PM EDT Sep 22, 2015
Boston, Revere, Somerville, Mohegan Sun and others, in separate lawsuits, say a state commission's decision last year to award Wynn Resorts a gambling license was flawed and corrupt. They want the ruling overturned and the competition restarted.
But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which oversees casinos, argued Tuesday that the complaints should be dismissed, because gambling license decisions aren't subject to court review under state law, something casino applicants are well aware of when they apply.
Mohegan Sun's lawyer Kenneth Leonetti countered that the company, which lost to Wynn in the license competition and is a co-plaintiff in Revere's lawsuit, isn't challenging the decision, but everything leading up to it.
"We had the right to expect a fair process," he said. "The whole process violated the statute."
The commission also argued Tuesday that some of the complaints exceed the statute of limitations.
Wynn was awarded the Boston-area license on Sept. 17, 2014, but Boston didn't file its lawsuit until Jan. 5 2015 well past the 60-day window to challenge such decisions, commission lawyer David Mackey said.
"Boston had its chance, and it missed it," he said.
Boston's lawyer Thomas Frongillo maintained the Wynn license wasn't officially awarded until days after the November 2014 election, when a ballot question that would have repealed the state's casino law failed to pass. The commission, he argued, took a vote officially awarding the license Nov. 7. The state's lawyer dismissed that vote on the Wynn license as a mere formality.
Boston also took issue with the state's contention that it lacks legal standing in the case.
Frongillo argued that even though Wynn's casino project is located in Everett, across the river from Boston, the main entry into the roughly 30-acre property is through a road originating in Boston.
"It's the only way in and the only way out," he said. "You don't have a gaming establishment without a way in."
Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders ended Tuesday's session after 2 1/2 hours of arguments and didn't immediately rule.
She had denied the state's previous effort to toss out Boston's lawsuit.
Wynn is planning a $1.7 billion resort casino, hotel and entertainment complex on the site of a former Monsanto chemical plant. It hopes to open in 2018.
Does anyone remember when Foxborough had the sense to say NO! to Steve Wynn?