Boston wins some, loses some on gaming suit
Judge to rule on viability of case in late September
THE CITY OF BOSTON survived a procedural challenge to its lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday, but the municipality’s bid to start issuing subpoenas and deposing witnesses was put on hold by Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is trying to prevent Wynn Resorts from building a $1.7 billion casino in Everett on the border with Charlestown by arguing in court that Wynn won its casino license from the Gaming Commission through a “corrupt process.” The city’s private attorneys say the Wynn license should be revoked and the five members of the Gaming Commission should be barred from handing out any future licenses in the Greater Boston area.
Sanders tried to bring some order to a case that has become something of a media circus, reflected in the packed courtroom and the many media outlets covering the proceedings. She rejected a motion by the Gaming Commission to have Boston’s complaint thrown out because it wasn’t written in a short and plain manner.
David Mackey, one of the attorneys representing the Gaming Commission, said the agency had not been aware of Boston’s wiretap room allegation previously and has referred the matter to the agency’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.
Sanders also rejected Boston’s bid to start issuing 17 subpoenas and deposing witnesses (including one present in the courtroom on Thursday) until after she rules on a Gaming Commission motion to dismiss the case on Sept. 22. Sanders indicated she would also decide on Sept. 22 whether to move forward with similar cases against the Gaming Commission brought by Mohegan Sun and Revere, the casino developer and host city that lost out to Wynn Resorts and Everett in the casino sweepstakes.
The judge indicated some of the cases may not proceed. “There may be one or more parties that don’t survive,” she said.
The Gaming Commission asserts Mohegan Sun, as a losing casino applicant, is barred by the state gaming law from challenging the commission’s license award. The commission claims Revere and Boston have “no greater right to judicial review than the disappointed applicant,” according to one of its briefs in the case.While most of the two-hour hearing was taken up with procedural matters, Sanders at times raised concerns about the way Boston’s private attorney, Thomas Frongillo, was crafting his legal briefs on behalf of the city. At one point Sanders noted the introduction to his 153-page complaint was 19 pages long, filled with arguments “colored by a lot of adjectives and adverbs.” Frongillo quickly interjected: “We’re prepared to prove all of it.”
At another point in the hearing, Sanders openly suggested the city of Boston was playing to the press in its legal documents. “This content was not written just for the court. There was another audience in mind,” she said.