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Leaf Home arrow The News arrow North East News arrow Walsh, Mohegan Sun meet about Revere casino plan
Walsh, Mohegan Sun meet about Revere casino plan
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 May 2014
Walsh, Mohegan Sun meet about Revere casino plan
Thursday, May 8, 2014

BOSTON —Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday before heading into private talks with Mohegan Sun officials that the tribe has offered a more generous financial package than the one awarded the city last year to then-Mayor Tom Menino.

But Walsh said this does not resolve his problems with the plan at Suffolk Downs.

"The sticking point is going to be the host community," said Walsh. "People want a voice. Something I've stuck my guns on and consistent all along."

When the proposal was offered last year, the plan to build a casino at Suffolk Downs was on the East Boston side of the property and Caesars Entertainment was the gaming operator. East Boston residents rejected the plan 56 percent to 44 percent.

Boston would have received $33 million up front and $32 million annually.

The current plan now before the Gaming Commission puts the casino on the Revere side of the race track and Mohegan Sun would be the casino owner and operator.

Asked if he could accept an agreement that does not allow East Boston residents to take another vote, Walsh left some wiggle room.

"We're going to have to see what our options are," he replied.

Mohegan Sun showed no cards before the meeting.

Walsh also is claiming host status in Steve Wynn's proposal in Everett. The site begins 10 feet from the Boston border. But Wynn won't meet with Walsh.

"They didn't want to meet unless it was on surrounding community and we're not willing to do that," said Walsh.

Wynn and his spokespeople would not comment. But Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria who is working hand in hand with Wynn defended the casino operator.

"I don't blame him," said DeMaria. "I don't blame Mr. Wynn because he's had these conversations already. He's gone through the process."

DeMaria said the issue was put to bed last year with Menino and a new mayor doesn't change anything.

"But now, a big monkey wrench has been thrown in and they want to talk host again," said DeMaria.

The Gaming Commission meets tomorrow to hear final arguments on Boston's status in both proposals and could take a vote immediately. If designed a host, Boston must hold a vote in Charlestown on the Wynn plan and in East Boston on the Mohegan Sun proposal at Suffolk Downs.

A rejection by the community would kill the proposal.

But controversy was again swirling around Commission Chairman Steve Crosby on the eve of that vote. Over the weekend, Crosby had attended opening day at Suffolk Downs.

"Attendance at these events is important to demonstrate the commission's recognition of our racing employees and our constituents in the horse racing industry," his spokeswoman said in a written statement, rejecting criticism that the appearance of a conflict of interest was created by his appearance at the track.

"I don't really have much of a comment on it. I read in the paper today he paid for it. (But) it's probably something I wouldn't have done," Walsh said.

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