Wynn: Curtatone appeal not delaying casino

Says cost of entry in Mass. is sky-high

STEVE WYNN said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone’s appeal of an environmental permit for his company’s proposed Everett casino is groundless, but he no longer is saying the legal challenge is delaying the project.

“It actually didn’t interfere with our timeline,” he told reporters on Wednesday after a speech to the Boston College Chief Executives Club at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Wynn’s remark was very different in tone than a series of earlier press conferences and events where Wynn Resorts officials blamed Curtatone for holding up the project.

Wynn said he believes a hearing officer at the state Department of Environmental protection will reject Curtatone’s appeal, work will begin on the hotel/casino complex in July, and construction will be completed 34 months later. “We don’t rate this as a terrible threat or a major obstacle to us,” said Wynn, who called the appeal “superficial and groundless.”

William Weld, at left, confers with Steve Wynn and Wynn's wife, Andrea Hissom.

William Weld, at left, confers with Steve Wynn and Wynn’s wife, Andrea Hissom.

Wynn was introduced at the luncheon by William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts who has done legal and lobbying work for Wynn Resorts and is now launching a run for vice president with the Libertarian Party. Weld called Wynn a genius, a detail-oriented manager, and the “Steve Jobs of the gaming industry.”

“After that introduction, you have my vote,” Wynn responded in jest.

After the luncheon, Wynn said he hasn’t decided whom to support in the presidential election because none of the candidates are talking about the issue that concerns him the most – the rising federal deficit. “It’s lowering the living standard of every American,” he said. “I’m one of those people who thinks government has given people a bad deal.”

In his speech, Wynn covered largely familiar ground, saying his business success is reliant on the quality of the employees; his business focus is on hotels and entertainment, not gambling; and his goal is to transform the part of Everett where the casino will be located.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

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.

Wynn’s remarks also seemed relevant to the ongoing debate in Boston over whether the city is welcome to new ideas and projects. Some say the Olympics and an IndyCar race were shot down because they weren’t sound ideas, but others believe Boston is resistant to almost anything new and big.

Wynn didn’t engage in that debate directly, but he pointed out that his efforts to build a casino om Everett has run into strong opposition. “The cost of entry in Massachusetts is sky-high,” he said. “We’re at $250 million, and we haven’t broken ground yet.”