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DeMaria asks Menino, Curtatone to back off Everett casino plan

Posted by Marcia Dick  August 9, 2013 04:41 PM

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EVERETT - Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. on Friday accused Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino of trying "to bully" his city and state gaming officials to boost Suffolk Downs's bid to win a casino license.

"It is no secret that Mayor Menino, a man I hold a deep respect for, holds a great deal of power and influence," DeMaria said, reading from prepared remarks at a morning news conference. "But for him to attempt to bully the City of Everett, the gaming officials, and state officials into submission to gain a political advantage for Suffolk Downs is something that I could not stand idly by and allowed to go unchecked."

DeMaria spoke where Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn proposes to build a $1 billion resort casino on a former Monsanto chemical factory site on the Mystic River.

Menino, responding during a separate event in Boston, said: "I'm not bullying, I'm just trying to protect the residents of our city, especially Charlestown. If that's bullying, then too bad.”

Menino has said recently that a portion of the property lies in Boston, which could allow the city to be considered a host community under the state's gambling law.

But DeMaria dismissed that notion, as he spoke surrounded by Everett casino supporters.

"Let me be clear: Everett is the sole host community for this development," he said.

He also took aim at Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, a fierce opponent of casino gambling, who this week launched an effort to repeal the state gambling law through a ballot initiative in 2014.

"I am disappointed that Mayor Curtatone seeks to derail a project that could revolutionize my community while refusing to acknowledge that his own development on his city's side of the [Mystic] river will have an impact on Everett."

DeMaria was referring to Assembly Row, a massive retail, residential, and entertainment development now under construction in Somerville.

DeMaria called on both Menino and Curtatone to reconsider their positions.

"Hypocrisy and politics will not help move our region forward, and I call on both men, my friends and colleagues, to collaborate constructively with us, not blindly obstruct."

Spokesmen for Menino and Curtatone could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @GlobeKMcCabe.

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