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.

Michael Weaver, a spokesman for Wynn Resorts, said Wynn made no new proposals to the mayor during the call.  He said the two men discussed the city’s lawsuit against the Gaming Commission and other matters.

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.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

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.