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Maybe moot at this point, but court rules gaming commission might have violated open-meeting law in approving Wynn casino

With the Wynn casino in Everett now under construction, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a judge should consider whether the state Gaming Commission violated a law requiring public deliberations during its considerations on whether to award a license to Wynn or a competing proposal at Suffolk Downs.

Theoretically, that could result in the judge nullifying the commission's decision to award the greater-Boston casino license to Wynn. The judge could also just issue an order to the commission to obey the open-meeting law in the future - or rule that, nah, the commission didn't break the legal requirement not to talk about deliberations in private.

Although the commission held numerous hearings in public - and streamed them on the Internet - the court said the plaintiffs had provided enough proof to suggest that commissioners also discussed what to do in some private sessions to warrant a second look by the judge.

The city of Revere, which was one of the plaintiffs in a legal bid to stop the Wynn casino, has since moved on and is now looking at a massive redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs property, which is just as well, since the state's highest court ruled that neither it nor IBEW Local 103 had any standing to ask for court action in the case.

The justices said this was because the legislature had expressly prohibited lawsuits over any commission rulings in the law it wrote to allow casinos in Massachusetts. They said Mohegan Sun was in a different situation because it was potentially directly harmed by the ruling in a way that common law dating back hundreds of years recognizes as meriting possible judicial review.

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preferred the Suffolk Downs site. It offered a more panoramic view of the Tobin Bridge and Everett power plant and LNG tank farm.

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So did I - but primarily because it was right next to an existing T station.

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From what I hear, Wynn was allowed to throw out numbers for jobs created and cost of casino without any proof that it would work at that scale in such a competitive region for gaming. Mohegan Sun/Suffolk Downs, with a better sense of the area, put forth a proposal more in line with what the region could reasonably use put forth a slightly smaller proposal and was dismissed for it.
And so Wynn won despite buying land from a convicted felon who's been rumored to be the head of the mob.

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Suffolk Downs lost, despite being the logical choice, because they just didn't have the financial backing pull it off. The growns-ups who are in charge of this process actually looked at the books to see who was solvent. It seems that the SD backers were in serious financial trouble due to over-extension at their CT casino. SD absolutely did not give a rosey prediction that they would spend $1.6B to construct a casino and create the same level of jobs that Wynn did. They promised to spend and employ less. So there is that.

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Meetings of Commissioners of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities aren't public?... according to the Department of Public Utilities!

Open Government Division
http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/

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Whatever you think of the casino, if the gambling commission is found to have violated the law during the gambling license process but Wynn still gets to keep his license, we should be worried. If so, any time the state wants something they will continue to break the law to get it since in the end there were no consequences.

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I have no problem with casinos, but this whole process was supposed to be above board. And there is no clearer signs that things are not above board than when the deliberations entailed violations of the open-meeting law.

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