No Ruling Yet on Casino Lawsuit

September 25, 2015
By

A judge in Suffolk Superior Court heard several arguments Tuesday afternoon on multiple lawsuits against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) regarding the Wynn casino license.

Despite all of the discussion, Judge Janet Sanders did not make a decision.

“I have heard all the arguments and will make a decision as quickly as possible,” she said.

More than two hours of arguments were made as to why the suits shouldn’t be dismissed and why they should be dismissed. Those suits heard came from Boston, Revere, Mohegan Sun, IBEW Union and four registered voters claiming violations of the open meeting law.

For Revere, the heaviest argument was that it expected a fair process, and it alleges that the process was unjust.

“The City of Revere suffered an injustice,” said Jim Cipoletta for Revere. “They negotiated a host community agreement, and changed zoning laws and did all the things to prepare to welcome a casino to Suffolk Downs. They had the expectation it would be a fair hearing…That just did not happen.”

The MGC argued that Revere and the IBEW fell in the same category as Mohegan Sun. That company is on uncertain ground with its suit as the Gaming Law prevents an applicant from suing after a denial.

“Mohegan has no rights, so whatever Revere and IBEW have is derivative of an entity that has nothing,” said Dave Mackey for the MGC.

Cipoletta clarified that Revere’s case could stand without Mohegan Sun.

“Revere has not applied and is not an applicant and the statute only precludes applicants,” he said.

That, however, came after a biting comment from Judge Sanders on Revere’s position.

“All of the injuries you cite flow from the award of the license not going to Mohegan Sun,” she said. “I can see the Commission’s position that you’re very closely tied to Mohegan Sun. If they’re out, you’re out. You are very closely tied together. In fact, (the position) doesn’t really make a whole lot of common sense.”

The biggest case, however, came between Boston and the MGC and centered on timeliness, whether or not Boston filed too late.

The MGC said the clock started on Sept. 17, 2014 and Boston didn’t file until Jan. 5, 2015.

“Even with the repeal vote, Boston had two weeks to prepare its brief following the results of that vote, and it did not,” said Mackey.

Boston said it had until November when the clock started, as the license was really given out on Nov. 7, after the repeal vote.

“In September, the MGC entered into an agreement to take an action in the future,” said Tom Frongillo for Boston.

Another argument at the center of it all was whether Boston could be a host community.

Boston leaned on Horizon Way as the only access point to Wynn.

“You have to get in and you have to get out,” said Frongillo. “It’s like a house without a door. It doesn’t function.”

The MGC leaned on the definition of a Surrounding Community.

“Boston is a community from which transportation infrastructure provides ready access; that’s a surrounding community,” said Mackey. “Boston has no answer to the definition of a surrounding community in its brief.”

The judge quizzed all parties on their arguments, and though seemingly growing frustrated with the length of discussion,  didn’t lean any way in the key Boston matter.

She will hand down her decisions in the near future, likely in written form rather than at another hearing.

  • drensber

    Danny McRizzo and the Revere Journal staff doing their best Linus-in-a-pumpkin-patch: “We might still _sue_ our way to a casino, we might, we might!”

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