Globe in the middle of casino fight
The Boston Globe found itself in the middle of a legal fight this week. The newspaper broke the news on Wednesday that Wynn Resorts had filed a libel lawsuit against “an unidentified casino foe” for leaking defamatory subpoenas. What made the story awkward for the Globe was that the subpoenas were leaked to the Globe.
The subpoenas, according to the libel lawsuit, contained two pieces of false information suggesting Wynn officials knew long before they said they did that a known felon held an ownership stake in the Everett property where Wynn wants to build its $1.7 billion casino. As a company owned by shareholders in an industry where any hint of legal wrongdoing can be very bad for business, Wynn decided the charges could not be left unchallenged.
The Wynn lawsuit doesn’t name any names; the defendants for now are listed as “Does 1 through 20.” The complaint says the “sham subpoenas” were prepared by Massachusetts attorneys on behalf of their Massachusetts-based client and given to Massachusetts media.
It’s not hard to guess who the suit is targeting. Wynn attorney Barry Langberg back in July put Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on notice that he and the city might be slapped with a lawsuit for their “campaign of falsehoods.”
Most court documents are exempt from libel allegations, but the city’s subpoenas never went through any court process and were apparently leaked directly to the Globe. In that sense, they may not be subject to attorney-client privilege.
The Walsh administration has taken a lot of heat already for the accusations it has leveled at Wynn. Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders is overseeing a case brought by the city of Boston challenging the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s casino license award to Wynn. In early August she refused to include in the case file documents containing many of the same allegations the city made in the subpoenas. She noted in her order that the materials “have already been released to the media before the hearing (indeed, that seemed to be the real motive for these filings.)”
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office, which is prosecuting the felon who allegedly held a secret interest in the Everett land Wynn purchased, also blasted Walsh and his attorneys for spreading unfounded rumors about Wynn and local law enforcement officials. The July court filing by Ortiz’s office referred to “a rumor spewed by the city of Boston in a vicious civil lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.”
A student immigrant group camps out in Sen. Eileen Donoghue’s office in a bid to convince the Lowell Democrat to support in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants. (The Sun)
Baker says he is saddened by an alleged hazing incident involving the Swampscott High School football team, for which both of his sons played. (Eagle-Tribune)
Boston officials released a transportation wish-list assembled from surveys of residents. It calls for everything from shortened commute times to a lower speed limit on city streets. (Boston Globe)
Stoughton selectmen are opposed to a request by the owner of a billboard along Route 24 to trim back trees to increase the billboard’s visibility for drivers along the accident-prone route. (The Enterprise)
While Wynn Resorts battles locally to open its proposed casino in Everett, the Las Vegas company is also dealing with financial challenges that include dropping sales at its facility in China. (CommonWealth)
The House is in chaos as the presumptive next speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, withdraws because of his lack of support among the tea party caucus. (New York Times) Many Republicans want Rep. Paul Ryan to take the speaker’s gavel but the former vice presidential candidate is insisting he doesn’t want the job. (National Review) “It’s total confusion — a banana republic,” Rep. Peter King, a veteran Republican House member from New York, tells the Washington Post‘s Karen Tumulty, who writes that “Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party.”
Turnabout’s fair play: Gov. Charlie Baker has endorsed Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch‘s bid for reelection, a return of favor for Koch backing Baker over Martha Coakley last year. (Patriot Ledger)
A new study finds family foundations are less likely to give to social justice groups than other grantmakers, with a survey showing many of the groups viewing those kinds of causes as a “political third rail.” (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Minutes from the Federal Reserve‘s meeting last month show there is no unanimity on when or if to raise interest rates. (U.S. News & World Report) The stock markets continued to climb with indications the Fed was leaning toward holding off on raising rates until at least December. (Associated Press)
Ernie Boch Jr. is cashing in on a lucrative market for car dealerships, while Herb Chambers is in a buying mood. (Boston Globe)
Gov. Charlie Baker unveils his proposal to raise the cap on charter schools, setting the stage for what may be one of the bigger looming battles on Beacon Hill. (State House News)
Lowell High School officials meet with students and parents to discuss racially charged texts that went viral. (The Sun)
Melinda Boone, the sometimes controversial superintendent of the Worcester schools, is leaving to take the superintendent’s job in Norfolk, Virginia. (Telegram & Gazette)
Scientists at UMass Medical School have developed a vaccine that shows promise in preventing Lyme disease. (Boston Herald)
UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough institutes a nicotine-free hiring policy. (Metrowest Daily News)
Medical marijuana sales start to climb. (WBUR) Bourne selectmen have given initial approval to a medical marijuana dispensary. (Cape Cod Times) Marijuana is hardly harmless, writes Sushrut Jangi, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
New Bedford city councilors voted to ask the Legislature to pass regulations requiring those riding scooters to be licensed, insured, and wear helmets. (Standard-Times)
The family of Walter Scott, the Charleston, South Carolina, man who appears to have been shot in the back by a police officer as he was running away, has reached a settlement with the city for $6.5 million and agreed not to sue. (New York Times)
A would-be juror in the murder trial of Philip Chism, charged with killing Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, was reprimanded by Judge David Lowy for remarking in a jury waiting room that he wouldn’t get picked for the case because he picks his son up every day at Danvers High School. (Boston Herald)
A California ballot measure succeeds in easing prison overcrowding. (Governing)
Keller@Large bemoans the takeover of emojis in written communication.PASSINGS
Paul Prudhomme, the king of Cajun cooking, has died. He was 75. (New York Times)