How far should unsuitability go?

Gov. Charlie Baker said that if the allegations against Steve Wynn by his employees are verified, then the casino developer should be declared unsuitable to hold a casino license in Massachusetts.

Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi doesn’t need any verification. “Based on the charges, Wynn is not ‘suitable’ to operate a casino in Massachusetts,” she said. “He should not be allowed to retain his title as CEO of Wynn Resorts as construction moves forward at his Everett site.”

Let’s assume Baker and Vennochi get their wish: Wynn, despite his claim that the allegations against him are “preposterous,” is ousted as CEO. Is that enough? Does his departure allow the $2.4 billion casino project to continue moving forward?

In the cutthroat world of casino politics, it may not be enough. The argument is already circulating that Wynn Resorts failed to rein in its chairman and failed to disclose damaging information about him during the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s review of the Everett proposal. Under this theory, you can’t make the problem go away by getting rid of just Steve Wynn. After all, the company is named after him and it’s his name on the hotels.

As evidence of a broader corporate breakdown at Wynn Resorts, some are pointing to documents filed in 2016 in a legal dispute between Steve Wynn and his former wife Elaine in which she accuses him of making a multimillion-dollar payment to a Wynn Resorts employee “after apparently being threatened with allegations of serious misconduct occurring on company property.” (The Wall Street Journal, which alleged a pattern of sexual misconduct by Wynn on January 26, said the payment was for $7.5 million to a manicurist he pressured into having sex with him.)

Elaine Wynn, in the court document, said she pressed for information on the multimillion-dollar payment and was told by the company’s legal counsel that she and Steve Wynn had decided the matter should not be disclosed to the board.

What should the Massachusetts Gaming Commission do? If it revokes the Wynn Resorts casino license in Everett, it would put billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs at risk. Still, such a drastic action is not unheard of. In 2000, Missouri officials revoked the licenses of Station Casinos after the company refused to cooperate with an investigation into mysterious payments made to the casino operator’s local attorney. Station ended up selling the casinos to Ameristar Casinos Inc. at a $125 million loss.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Jeff Riley, the state-appointed receiver of the Lawrence school system, will take his turnaround philosophy to the next level after being tapped by the state education board to be the commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. (CommonWealth) Keri Rodrigues of Massachusetts Parents United calls it a “missed opportunity,” after the board passed up the chance to appoint a woman of color to the post. (WBUR)

Lost amid all the shouting about process, what was the state’s Group Insurance Commission trying to do with its plan to simplify and streamline the number of insurance carriers serving its 400,000 state and municipal enrollees? (CommonWealth)

A group of senators release a “clean energy future” report, which includes a host of initiatives including a carbon tax and a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure. (MassLive)

Gov. Charlie Baker says he’ll meet next month with US Attorney Andrew Lelling to talk pot prosecution policy in the wake of uncertainty over how the feds will approach the state’s new commercial market for marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. (State House News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera has been firm that charities that receive support from the city must have all their paperwork in order, but there’s been one exception — Isabel Melendez, who runs anti-poverty programs out of a building provided and maintained by the city, hasn’t had to jump through any regulatory hoops. (Eagle-Tribune)

North Andover residents face a Town Meeting vote tonight on a proposal for a massive 1.1 million-square-foot marijuana facility put forward by a local oncologist who says he would use some profits from the operation to fund research on pot-related medicines. (Boston Globe)

A measure is set to go before voters in Hull to allow recreational marijuana on the main strip along Nantasket Beach. Meanwhile, Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund will propose a measure to the Town Council to ban recreational sales in that community, where voters rejected the 2016 statewide referendum to legalize pot. (Patriot Ledger)

For the second year in a row, Wayland has exceeded its legal expenses budget, caused by a number of unexpected lawsuits and longer than expected litigation. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

In an unprecedented move, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release a controversial memo that Democrats say cherry-picks classified facts and presents them out of context to disparage the intelligence community and undermine the probe into Russia meddling in the presidential election. The committee voted against releasing a minority report that counters many of the memo’s claims. (New York Times)

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the target of withering assaults from Republicans and President Trump over accusations of political bias, resigned from the bureau under pressure from above. (U.S. News & World Report) A Herald editorial calls the pushing out of McCabe by a White House looking for scapegoats “sad.”

Brockton City Councilor Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, who earned his citizenship after fleeing his native Haiti in 2010 following that nation’s devastating earthquake, will be the guest of Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Trump’s State of the Union speech. (The Enterprise)

Immigration attorneys in Greater Boston say illegal immigrants who are married to US citizens are getting arrested as part of ICE sweeps in the area. (Boston Herald)

ELECTIONS

Beth Lindstrom led the pack of three Republican US Senate hopefuls with $400,000 in donations in the fourth quarter of 2017, but John Kingston still has the most on hand of the GOP candidates with $3 million — and all of Republican numbers pale in comparison to Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Warren’s $14 million warchest. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Sal Lupoli loses his bid to rezone a piece of property in Andover to accommodate over-55 housing. The developer says he will continue with an all-commercial project. (Eagle-Tribune)

A court document suggests talks are underway to resolve the dispute over the Berkshire Museum’s planned sale of artwork. (Berkshire Eagle)

The Cleveland Indians will abandon the team’s “Chief Wahoo” logo, the caricature of a smiling red-faced indian that has been deemed racist by Native Americans for decades. (New York Times)

For your upcoming Super Bowl party, you might want to stop by Ocean State Job Lot and pick up a bag or two of haggis-flavored potato chips for your guests. For the uninitiated, haggis is a Scottish dish made of a sheep’s lungs, liver, and heart and cooked inside the sheep’s stomach. Both the chips and the recipe are real things. (Herald News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase team up to provide health care to their employees and disrupt the marketplace in the process. (New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION

Keolis Commuter Services, the state’s commuter rail operator, seems to be playing whack-a-mole. (CommonWealth)

T notes: A cautionary tale of ancient cables on the Green Line…Trying to give corporate passes a lift…Keeping employees on the capital budget payroll…Assaults on T workers. (CommonWealth)

State officials unveiled a draft rail plan in Worcester. The plan includes a study of east-west passenger rail service and expansion of South Station, which many believe would mean the end to plans for a rail link between North and South Stations. (Telegram & Gazette)

Bourne selectmen want the town administrator and police chief to find ways to disrupt traffic apps that send drivers through back roads for shortcuts which ends up causing traffic problems and congestion on small streets. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A LNG tanker loaded with natural gas from a Russia supplier that is under US sanctions arrives in Everett. (Boston Globe) A Globe editorial decries the fact that Russia’s “dirty fuels,” controlled by the country’s “dirty oligarchs,” are landing here.

Cap-and-trade systems to reduce carbon emissions are gaining steam at the state level, with New Jersey and Virginia now wanting to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. (Governing)

A Salem News editorial says homeowners need to clean up their recycling act now that China is refusing to accept contaminated recyclables.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

John Nardozzi, a former business partner of indicted former state senator Brian Joyce, was arrested on charges of defrauding the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars by helping Joyce file false tax returns. (Boston Herald)

New documents in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a state trooper involved in the arrest of a judge’s daughter allege officials in the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. committed felonies in a scheme to alter and destroy government records. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Easton deputy fire chief will be arraigned on a dangerousness hearing after he was arrested for allegedly bursting into his ex-girlfriend’s house, grabbing her gun and, aiming at her head, saying, “I’m going to count to 10,” while demanding her cellphone. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

Nieman Journalism Lab looks at the invest-in-the-news approach of the new local owners of the Berkshire Eagle.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    CommonWealth never seems to miss an opportunity to promote Keri Rodrigues. The latest is featuring her commentary on the hiring of the new ed commissioner in The Daily Download. What’s interesting is her OpEd piece is one of two on the very same subject sitting side by side on WBUR’s main web page. The other commentary…not mentioned in the Download… is written by Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera. What’s the difference between the two opinion pieces? Mayor Rivera put public education funding front and center: “…fully funding the education formula, revisiting the foundation budget, renewing focus on English language learners and special education students and bringing solutions that are proven to have worked in Lawrence to the rest of the commonwealth.” It takes a concerted effort on everyone’s part at CommonWealth to make sure public education funding doesn’t become part of an informed public discussion. Gotta give you guys credit…you’re batting a thousand on that.

  • Frank

    The odds of that Casino being stopped now are NIL !!!!!!!
    Drive by there and look at the work that has been done !
    Usually your stories are pretty good but that one…no way !!!!!!