Massachusetts Gaming Commission Ends Bitter Dispute With Wynn

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Associated Press
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Massachusetts Gaming Commission Ends Bitter Dispute With Wynn

BOSTON — (Associated Press) - Massachusetts closed the books on Boston's bitter fight over Wynn Resorts' $1.7 billion casino development in Everett on Thursday as state gambling regulators unanimously approved an accord between the city and the Las Vegas casino giant.

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Approval of the deal lifts one of the major remaining hurdles for the development, which was granted a gambling license in 2014 and is slated to open in late 2018.

"It's been a long road," said Jacqui Krum, general counsel for Wynn Resorts. "We're anxious to get this project going."

Lawsuits by the neighboring cities of Somerville and Revere that also challenge the development are still pending, however.

"This is not about money for us," Denise Taylor, spokeswoman for Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, said in a statement. "The city has serious and valid concerns that have not yet been properly assessed or addressed."

Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said the company isn't concerned about the remaining lawsuits holding up the project further. Wynn hopes to have all environmental permitting finalized in time to break ground this spring, he said.

Under the agreement with Boston, Wynn will pay the city $400,000 more annually than they had initially offered, for a total of $2 million in compensation per year.

That's on top of other payments the company has agreed to make to Boston and other government entities, such as subsidizing the subway line that runs near the property with more than $7 million over 15 years.

Wynn and Boston also agreed to drop lawsuits related to the project as part of the deal.

Boston had sued the gaming commission, saying its 2014 decision to award Wynn a gambling license over Mohegan Sun was corrupt and flawed. Wynn filed a libel suit charging unknown defendants with defamation after court documents were leaked to the media.

Monday's vote also authorized the commission to release $1 million in initial compensation payments from Wynn to Boston. Those had been held in escrow during the dispute.

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