McHugh turns out to be right about Wynn

The seemingly never-ending battles between the proposed Wynn Resorts casino in Everett and its surrounding  communities are no surprise to James McHugh, who in September 2014 predicted the infighting that is once again dominating the headlines.

McHugh, a former judge, was the lone member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to vote against awarding the Greater Boston casino license to Wynn. McHugh told his fellow commissioners that he thought Wynn’s overall proposal for Everett was superior to Mohegan Sun’s project in Revere. But he was concerned that Wynn had failed to win the support of neighboring communities and was likely to face questions about traffic and other issues that had the potential to delay or even derail the project.

“What do you do with a very good proposal that runs a very high risk of never getting off the ground?” McHugh asked. “Wynn is surrounded by communities that do not have a great deal of support for their effort.”

What McHugh predicted has come to pass. After Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spent a year fighting the project in the courts before signing a “treaty” with Wynn, the focus has now turned to Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who is challenging a key state environmental permit in a process that could stall the project for at least six months to a year.

Wynn officials and local politicians and union leaders mobilized at the casino site on Wednesday to pressure Curtatone to back down so the project, its jobs, and its tax payments could come to fruition. Curtatone refused to walk away, but kept the door open by inviting Steve Wynn to give him a call.

Officials who remained mum on the sidelines during the infighting between Walsh and Wynn are now starting to step forward to say enough is enough. Gov. Charlie Baker, who is pals with Walsh and never objected to his lawsuits against Wynn, is now urging Somerville and Wynn to resolve their differences, possibly with the help of his Department of Environmental Protection.

John Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction and the designated developer for the Wynn casino, said what many in the business community have been thinking for some time — that the constant infighting between Wynn and surrounding communities is giving Massachusetts a rep as a hostile place to do business.

McHugh predicted all of it (see transcript, page 172) long ago. “I think that though I give the slight edge — and it is a slight edge — to Wynn in terms of its potential yield to the economy and to the region, that the likelihood of its ability to succeed on schedule to produce that yield is less than the Mohegan Sun proposal,” McHugh said. “And that in the end the ability of the Mohegan Sun proposal to get off the ground and move smoothly through the remainder of this process is greater. And for that reason, I am favoring the Mohegan Sun proposal in Revere.”

 –BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Sen. Brian Joyce is being targeted by the FBI for his role in a solar deal in Easton. (Boston Globe)

Howie Carr documents the hack attack in the Baker administration — Republicans who land good jobs at good wages because of their ties to the state Republican Party. (Boston Herald)

Gov. Charlie Baker is getting frustrated at the lack of action on an opioid bill. (WBUR)

House Speaker Robert DeLeo wants to rethink ride-sharing legislation to determine whether fingerprinting of drivers should be included. Uber doesn’t like the idea. (WGBH)

An Eagle-Tribune editorial opposes legislation that would extend a death benefit to more state workers.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh files municipal lobbying legislation that mirrors what the state requires of people who lobby on Beacon Hill. (Boston Globe)

Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst criticizes black leaders for failing to speak out on racial issues, prompting a backlash from activists. (Masslive)

Milton Police Chief Richard Wells blasted the Board of Selectmen at its weekly meeting for the way it handled the announcement that they would not renew his contract when it expires in July and he vowed to stay on until the end. (Patriot Ledger)

The USS Salem, whose owner was looking to move the World War II museum ship to either Fall River or East Boston, will stay docked at the old Quincy Shipyard for at least the next five years. (Patriot Ledger)

CASINOS

Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish appears to have found a replacement for the Olympics in his life — the proposed Wynn casino in Everett that his company has been selected to build. He calls it a “game-changer” for the region. (CommonWealth)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Obama and Senate Democrats are putting pressure on GOP senators to break their resolve on not holding hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, including leaking the name of the Republican governor of Nevada as a potential pick. (New York Times)

Former congressman John Tierney lands a job at an arms control organization in Washington. (Salem News)

ELECTIONS

Donald Trump is promising to return jobs to American workers and stem the influx of immigrants but his private club in Florida routinely rejects American applicants in favor of foreign workers. (New York Times) Mitt Romney slams Trump for not releasing his tax returns, saying he believes there’s a bombshell in there. (Boston Herald) Buzzfeed listens to Trump interviews on Howard Stern’s show and finds a lot of “gross” comments about women. Scott Brown sells Trump and defends Gov. Charlie Baker. (Politico)

Trump’s rise befuddles the Massachusetts GOP. (Boston Globe) Eric Fehrnstrom says Trump’s popularity in the Bay State says a lot about Republicans in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

Hillary Clinton sends out mailers in Massachusetts slamming Bernie Sanders on gun control. (Masslive)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Apple is reportedly developing a smartphone that even it can’t hack, creating a near-insurmountable technical challenge for law enforcement. (New York Times)

Beijing has passed New York as the home to the most billionaires and China outnumbers the United States in total uber rich people, according to a Shanghai survey. But the total worth of billionaires in this country still far exceeds China and all other countries. (U.S. News & World Report)

EDUCATION

Attorney General Maura Healey sues an unlicensed nursing home school. (Boston Globe)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh plans a city investigation of racism at Boston Latin School and says a federal probe is unnecessary. (Boston Herald)

Lesley University names international consultant Jeff Weis as its new president. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Researchers at Dana Farber are experimenting with a new treatment targeting genetic mutations in cancer patients that are producing Lazarus-like results in early testing. (U.S. News & World Report)

TRANSPORTATION

State leaders are considering legislation that would study the creation of a high-speed rail line between Boston and Springfield. (Masslive)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The US Department of Energy permits natural gas pipeline companies to export their product to Canada and beyond, stirring a debate about whether new pipelines in Massachusetts are really needed. (WBUR)

The owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant is facing a fine for violating state regulations when it built a pulley system in Cape Cod Bay required by the Nuclear Regulatory Administration. (Cape Cod Times)

There’s an upside to the warm winter and lower snowfall so far this winter: Municipal snow removal budgets, which took a beating last year, are in good shape, with some still having money in the bank. (Standard-Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Truro rabbit breeder, who had a similar operation raising bunnies for meat and fur in Provincetown that was shut down by authorities, was placed on one year of probation after admitting to sufficient facts to charges of animal cruelty. (Cape Cod Times)

MEDIA

Worcester Councilor-at-Large Michael Gaffney sues the newspaper InCity Times for characterizing him as a racist. (Telegram & Gazette)

STAT, John Henry’s standalone website devoted to health care, is the media startup to envy. (Columbia Journalism Review)