A different kind of slot position for Pats?

The Globe reports today that a lawyer for Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s company drafted a zoning change over the summer that would have allowed for a casino on property The Kraft Group owns directly across from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

The revelation throws into sharp relief several weeks of near-denials from the Krafts, who, upon further review, have almost been swearing off interest in a Gillette casino — but not quite.

Casino speculation has surrounded the property for more than a month, since Foxborough’s town manager presented its Board of Selectmen with a zoning change that would have lifted the town’s prohibition on gambling facilities.

At the time, the Sun Chronicle reported, “Officials emphasized that the Kraft Group’s ownership in an NFL football team would preclude the Patriots from owning a casino.” Foxborough’s selectmen unanimously declined to lift that prohibition, but quickly reconsidered, saying the matter should be put to town meeting.

The maneuvering caused state Sen. Richard Ross, a strong supporter of the Plainridge Racetrack in Plainville, to allege that Gov. Deval Patrick and Kraft were playing an “inside ballgame,” conspiring to bring a gambling facility to Foxborough. Patrick’s spokesman called the charges “completely and utterly false,” while a Kraft spokesman called Ross’s charge “a bold and curious accusation” that was “also not true.” The Kraft spokesman added, “The people of Foxborough decide what development they want in their town, not the Kraft Group or the governor.”

The casino issue came up again, in a September story about the revival of a long-controversial pedestrian bridge linking Kraft properties on either side of Route 1. Keeping in mind the NFL’s prohibitions on gambling, the Sun Chronicle asked a Kraft spokesman whether the pedestrian bridge would allow the Krafts to sell some of their land for a casino. “We have no plans to sell the land, as control of those parcels is crucial to ensuring a positive event day experience for our patrons,” the spokesman responded. “Owning that land and managing the traffic flow from it is a critical element of our event day operation.”

The Globe puts the casino question to the Krafts differently today, and gets a markedly different answer. The Krafts still maintain that they “have absolutely no interest” in selling land to accommodate a casino. But when asked whether the Kraft Group would consider leasing its land to a casino developer, the Krafts’ spokesman was suddenly noncommittal.

“To date, that has not been an option,’’ a Kraft spokesman told the Globe. “We have spent considerable time, energy, and financial resources trying to pursue a major commercial development…. The site has been shovel-ready for development for several years, and we will continue to seek large-scale development options that will generate thousands of jobs for this region.’’ The spokesman did rule out placing a slot machine parlor on Route 1, but beyond that, would only say, “we are not going to limit ourselves to speculative comments on specific developments.’’

                                                                                                                                        –PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

Restaurant and bar owners are far from unified in their views on the possible return of happy hour to Massachusetts. The owner of one Boston bar calls the prospect a liability “nightmare.” CommonWealth’s Paul McMorrow, in his Globe column, says the move, which is being driven by casino legislation, is yet another bad thing about the embrace of expanded gambling.

Margery Eagan checks in on a Plainville couple facing a $3,000 fine for not having enough health insurance after their landscaping business went bankrupt. Rep. Dan Winslow calls the state Health Connector’s stance “outrageous.”

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Quincy city council is looking at ways to collect $250,000 in unpaid police and fire details.

Governing magazine analyzes the unique business model being used to rebuild Quincy.

Authorities say an explosion and massive fire in an Roxbury apartment building were the result a suicide attempt by a 28-year-old Medford man was who hospitalized with severe burns and now faces arson and attempted murder charges.

Ipswich pushes state legislation that would alter the management of a 17th-century trust that oversees land in the town, the Salem News reports.

Study finds residents own 77 percent of the property in Rockport but only 48 percent along the waterfront, the Gloucester Times reports.

Abington selectmen rejected a proposal to adopt the local option meals tax surcharge.

Quincy Mayor Tom Koch and challenger Anne Mahoney squared off in their second and final debate with Koch charging Mahoney with being long on criticism and short on plans and Mahoney still beating the drum that Koch pads the payrolls with cronies. (Editor’s note: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this Download item had the first name of the challenger incorrect.)

OCCUPY

WBUR talks to economist Jeffrey Sachs about income inequality. The Nieman Journalism Lab explains why #OccupyWallStreet hasn’t trended on Twitter in New York and why #OccupyBoston has trended in other cities but not in Boston.

The Atlantic says the Occupy movement’s first priority should be rescinding the Bush tax cuts.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The Boston Foundation and  three other Massachusetts charities are urging Sen. John Kerry to fight an Obama administration proposal to cap tax deductions for charitable contributions from the wealthy, arguing that the measure would do great harm an important sector of the state’s economy.

Keller@Large notes the anniversary of the ugliest demonstration of character assassination on both sides of the aisle in American politics — the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings — passed with little fanfare last week but should be remembered as the turning point in how our political culture has degenerated.

Senate Democrats try pushing ahead $35 billion in aid to state and local governments.

ELECTION 2012

The Iowa caucuses will be January 3, Politico reports.

The Globe’s Brian Mooney looks at the new, more disciplined candidacy of Mitt Romney. Romney’s rivals are about to turn the heat up, the New York Times reports. Aaron Goldstein, writing in the American Spectator, says only the “liberal media” is anointing Romney the GOP nominee long before he’s earned the conservative nod.

African-American talk radio hosts, among others, are telling blacks to get with the program and support President Obama.

Is Herman Cain harvesting policy proposals from video games and Robert Rodriguez films?

Scott Brown, who just voted against President Obama’s $450 billion jobs bill, told a group of Massachusetts business leaders yesterday that Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for the political paralysis over helping the economy,

Did Rick Perry take cut-rate flights on the private jet of a guy who’s in the business of cashing elderly folks’ life insurance policies?

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Andrew Sullivan finds occupy Wall Street is strongest out West.

Washington floats a trial balloon on a home mortgage refinancing plan for underwater borrowers. The plan would only apply to bank-held mortgages, but the majority of the country’s mortgages are held in securities.

Troubled retailer Filene’s Basement says it will close four stores in Massachusetts.

EDUCATION

Hip-hop moves into the classroom at Georgetown University.

Navy officials told administrators at Durfee High School in Fall River they will decommission the ROTC program there at the end of the year because the school has failed to meet minimum enrollment requirements.

A private $675,000 donation is the first of what officials hope will be $6 million in private contributions to boost technology in day-to-day use in New Bedford schools.

HEALTH CARE

The New York Times spotlights Gov. Deval Patrick’s push toward global health care payments.

TRANSPORTATION

Private groups expect to spend $6 million educating voters about the need to pass a referendum question in 10 counties in the Atlanta boosting the sales tax to finance transportation projects, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

California ranks first in the nation with 25,575 solar jobs; Massachusetts ranks 10th with 2,395, the Los Angeles Times reports. Over the next year, nearly half the 2,100 solar firms surveyed in the National Solar Jobs Census 2011 say they will add jobs. The report, though, is from the Solar Foundation, not exactly an unbiased source.

Peter Lucas, in his Lowell Sun column, asks why no one in Massachusetts is investigating the state’s bankrolling of Evergreen Solar the way Washington is investigating the Obama administration’s financial backing of Solyndra.

 CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A year after Easton resident D.J. Henry was killed by police in a controversial shooting in New York, his family and friends marked the anniversary — and continued to press for answers to questions around the circumstances of his death.

A man pleaded guilty yesterday to a 1992 rape in the Back Bay and was sentenced to 30 years in prison after his DNA profile was indicted as “John Doe” just before the statute of limitations ran out in 2007 and several years before he was identified as the suspect.

Columnist Kevin Cullen says the FBI needs to come clean on its relationship with murderous informants.

MEDIA

Adam Moss, editor of NYmag.com, says the website publishes new material every six minutes during working hours and “the editing process is zero, pretty much,” the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.