Walsh issues subpoenas

Trying to drum up publicity for his legal fight against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh leaked subpoenas to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald on Tuesday.

The subpoenas, seeking records and depositions, were sent to several current and former state troopers, the Hard Rock Cafe, and former state transportation secretary (and current Boston 2024 CEO) Richard Davey. The city’s lawsuit claims the Gaming Commission bent its rules to favor Wynn and asks the court to cancel the license awarded to the Las Vegas company to build a $1.7 billion casino/hotel in Everett.

The Hard Rock Cafe looked at the toxic Everett site before Wynn and, according to theGlobe, the city wants to know if Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby steered the company there. The city wants to ask Davey questions about his approval of a T land sale to Wynn that is now on hold pending a state environmental review of the casino project. And the city wants to question two private investigators on whether they were working for Wynn and given unauthorized access to an ongoing criminal investigation of the previous owners of the Everett property. A Wynn spokesman says the company doesn’t know the private investigators and never hired them.

The subpoena stories appear designed to signal that Walsh is serious about his lawsuit, even as he negotiates privately with Wynn officials on mitigation packages for Boston.CommonWealth reported last week that Walsh met privately with the president of Wynn Resorts and took a pass on a $150 million plan to fix Sullivan Square in Charlestown. Walsh says the plan is bogus because it relies on funds under control of the state, but Wynn officials say a case can be made for the state using casino tax revenues to address underlying traffic issues at Sullivan Square.

All of the casino maneuverings beg the real question: What does Walsh want? Aides say the mayor no longer wants a casino in eastern Massachusetts because the economy is doing fine without it and because of the addictive nature of gaming. The mayor’s private negotiations with Wynn officials, however, suggest he’s open to a casino as long as Wynn gives the city the money the mayor thinks it deserves. The mayor’s lawsuit against Wynn serves both ends. It’s a way to block the casino from ever opening and also a way to leverage greater concessions from Wynn.

Bruce Mohl



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