The city of Boston is refocusing his efforts to prevent Wynn Resorts from erecting a $1.7 billion casino in Everett, filing a fresh lawsuit Monday challenging the planned resort.
The city is calling on Suffolk Superior Court to invalidate an environmental approval granted by the state last month. After receiving the approval, Wynn began early site work along the Mystic River. Wynn tentatively plans to break ground in 2016.
The suit argues that Wynn’s casino would have adverse impacts on traffic at Sullivan Square in the nextdoor neighborhood of Charlestown, a long-time point of contention from the city. “Wynn’s project is fundamentally incompatible with the city’s plans for its own streets,’’ the suit says.
Among the arguments in the 41-page suit is a claim that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should not have issued Wynn a casino license prior to figuring out a solution to the Sullivan Square standoff.
It also argues that a plan for Wynn to take over MBTA land in Everett to build a new accessway to the casino will have adverse effects on T operations, and that this impact should have been included in the environmental report that won the state’s approval.
The new complaints are in addition to a pending suit against the gaming commission, which challenges its 2014 decision to award Wynn the region’s sole license. A motion to dismiss that suit was heard last week and is under consideration by Judge Janet Sanders. Sanders’s comments at the hearing were described by CommonWealth magazine as skeptical of the city’s position.
Walsh has sought a swath of judgments, ranging from the outright cancellation to the casino to Boston’s being named a host city for the casino, a desingation the gaming commission declined to make last year. Host community status would give Charlestown residents the opportunity to vote on whether to allow the casino to move forward, and would mean multi-million dollar annual payments from Wynn to the city in order to operate.
Wynn representatives and the mayor have bickered for more than a year, highlighted by a declaration from Steve Wynn himself that he “can’t negotiate with [Walsh]. The man is obviously irresponsible.’’
But Walsh and company representatives met as recently as last week. Some saw that as a sign that the two sides could reach an accord, but the city does not appear ready to relent.
“Despite numerous meetings between city officials and Wynn representatives, Wynn has consistently ignored the City’s concerns,’’ the suit says.
In a discussion last week with Boston Herald Radio, Walsh Chief of Staff Dan Koh tempered the notion that the city was looking to play nice, foreshadowing the new suit.
“There’s certainly additional legal routes we could take to prevent the casinos from happening,’’ Koh said at the time.
Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said he had not yet seen the suit, but called it “unproductive’’ and pointed to the legal fees the city has paid outside counsel in order to fight the casino.
“Once again, the city of Boston has used the media to deliver its inflammatory claims about Wynn Resorts,’’ said Weaver. “This is certainly an unproductive way for the city to engage in a dialogue with our company, and will be unlikely to benefit the citizens of Boston; yet it is likely to force the citizens to carry the burden of ever-increasing legal fees.’’