Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders rejected a request by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the city of Boston, though the ultimate outcome of the legal action to stop the Wynn Everett from being built is still very much in doubt.
Judge Sanders denied the request after the gaming commission said that the 153-page lawsuit was “unanswerable,” but said that a future hearing will be held to consider other arguments by the state.
“I’m going to deny the motion,” Judge Sanders said. “I think to allow it is going to slow things down. I’d like to move on.”
Boston Disputes Licensing Process, Wants Host Community Status
Boston is suing the gaming commission, saying that the panel violated its rules for awarding casino licenses when it chose the Wynn Resorts project in Everett for the Greater Boston-area license.
The cities of Somerville and Revere are also pursuing similar lawsuits against the commission.
Boston is also claiming that they should be designated as a host community for the Everett casino, saying that they will bear most of the traffic burden once the casino is operational.
However, Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby defended the decision not to award that status to Boston, saying it is very clear under state law that they do not qualify.
“The gaming establishment is not in Boston,” Crosby said at a commission meeting in South Boston. “It’s right in the law. It’s pretty straightforward. If the gaming establishment is in a community, it’s a host community. If it isn’t, it isn’t.”
Next Hearing Set for September
While Judge Sanders has allowed the lawsuit to go forward, that doesn’t mean that Boston scored a major win at the hearing, and there are still several questions about the lawsuit that are yet to be answered.
The judge has set a new hearing on September 22, on which date she will hear other motions to dismiss the various lawsuits against the gaming commission.
A variety of other legal requests will also be heard on that date.
In addition, Judge Sanders has slowed down the subpoena process for the city of Boston, halting those subpoenas from being enforced until after it is determined which, if any, lawsuits will ultimately go forward in the case.
Boston had issued several subpoenas as part of allegations that private investigators working for Wynn Resorts had been given access to a wiretap room at the Massachusetts attorney general’s office.
Wynn Threatens Defamation Suit
Wynn has denied having any connection to the men that Boston says was working on their behalf. In addition, the corporation has signaled that they are tiring of the constant accusations being lobbed at them by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
On Monday, a lawyer for Wynn sent a letter to Walsh and lawyers representing Boston, one that demanded an apology and threatened to sue the city for defamation.
In particular, it singled out claims that Wynn had access to state files related to felon Charles Lightbody’s ownership interest in the land purchased by the company in Everett, and that Wynn employees held meetings to discuss Lightbody’s involvement.
“Apparently, you have conducted yourselves with reckless disregard for the truth because you somehow feel your actions are immune from accountability,” wrote Wynn lawyer Barry Langberg. “Such is not the case. Massachusetts law does not protect individuals (even public officials) from defamation liability for providing falsehoods to the media, even when they attempt to insulate themselves by disseminating the falsehoods in the form of legal documents.”
In response, a spokesperson for Mayor Walsh said that the city stands behind their allegations.