Steve Wynn picks up phone and calls Walsh
Adversaries talk money, lawsuits, and possible meeting
BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH said on Friday that Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn called him on Wednesday and offered the city a nine-figure sum in an effort to put their ongoing dispute to rest. A spokesman for Wynn Resorts said no new offer was made during the call, but the two men agreed to meet sometime after Labor Day.
Wynn apparently made the impromptu call to Walsh after a late-afternoon conference call with financial analysts on the company’s second-quarter results. At the end of the conference call, Wynn talked briefly about his ongoing struggles with Boston over his proposed casino in Everett. When the call was concluded, Wynn decided to pick up the phone and call Walsh himself.
In an appearance on Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, Walsh said Wynn had called him to see if something could be worked out. He said Wynn “threw a figure at me,” which Walsh later said was a nine-figure sum.
Walsh said the two agreed to talk more and the mayor said Wynn told him he would be available after Labor Day. The city’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is focused on the agency’s award of a casino license to Wynn, faces a critical hearing in late September.
At an earlier meeting with the mayor, Wynn Resorts president Matthew Maddox outlined a plan to provide the city with $150 million to address long-term traffic issues at Sullivan Square in Charlestown, near the proposed site of Wynn’s Everett casino.The Maddox proposal relied on $11.5 million in federal funds currently under the city’s control, $35.9 million already committed by Wynn, and nearly $103 million from two funds into which gaming tax revenues will flow over the coming years. Once Wynn’s proposed $1.7 billion casino in Everett is up and running, the company is expected to pump more than $43 million a year in taxes into the two funds.
Walsh dismissed the proposal at the time, saying the money in the two funds wasn’t Wynn’s to give away. The two funds are actually controlled by the Gaming Commission and the state Department of Transportation, but Maddox said Wynn Resorts would try to convince officials who oversee the funds to use the money to address congestion in Sullivan Square.