Wynn Resorts Stops Construction on the Everett Casino, Citing Mayor’s Legal Action

Wynn Everett Casino Suspends Work

Wynn Everett’s president blamed Mayor Curtatone for the delays.

Wynn Resorts canceled its groundbreaking for the Wynn Everett Casino, as well as various job fairs to vet potential workers. Wynn Resorts also has ordered a project-related hiring freeze for the Everett development.

The decision to suspend development are based on an an appeal filed by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone to appeal a legal decision on an environmental permit for waterside construction projects. Mayor Curtatone argued that the $1.7 billion casino is going to cause major traffic and environmental issues at the waterfront.

Robert DeSalvio, the President of Wynn Everett, held a press conference to announce his company’s decision. DeSalvio said, “All of that, due to this appeal that was put in by the city of Somerville. With these announcements, basically, the construction of the Wynn resort is effectively on hold.”

Wynn Everett Postpones Groundbreaking

Wynn Everett’s president said the decision to postpone the groundbreaking set for this spring, while stopping development plans are not an indication the project is at an end. He said the appeal has caused an unavoidable delay, but a temporary delay.

DeSalvio added, “We are not going anywhere. We will get this project started as soon as possible. We will get this amazing project done. But for now, unfortunately, due to the delay that’s caused by the appeal, we are actually going to have to go on hold.

Speakers at the Press Conference

Several prominent figures were asked to speak at the Wynn Resorts press conference. The list of speakers included Mayor Carlo DeMaria of Everett and John Fish, the CEO Of Suffolk Construction. Suffolk Construction is the largest construction firm in Massachusetts, and was recently tabbed to build the Wynn Everett.

John Fish has an unique perspective. He has been a donor to Joseph Curtatone’s public causes, including the Partners HealthCare office building at Assembly Square. Fish said the parties are protecting their interests. Fish said, “I have a lot of respect for Mayor Curtatone. This doesn’t cause me to lose respect for Mayor Curtatone….The parties have to deal with it in the most appropriate way possible. I think what we identified today is, what impacts is this delay having?

Carlo DeMaria’s Opinion

Carlo DeMaria was less high-minded. He called for the residents who attended the press conference to “inundate” Curtatone’s phone to complain about the appeal, though he did refer to the mayor from the adjacent city his friend.

Mayor Demaria said, “I’m appealing to my friend, who hasn’t taken my call in a couple days now. Mayor Curtatone: There’s thousands of people who would come to your office if you need them to come. And if you want us all to come, we will come there and ask that you just cut it out.

Others struck a similar tone. Leo Fahey of Pipefitters Local 537 was called to speak for the workers who might be affected by a work stoppage. Mr. Fahey said, “We want to go to work.

Curtatone Press Conference

Joseph Curtatone held a press conference later on Wednesday to contradict the Wynn Resorts side of the story. He said the appeal was meant to implement a “meaningful traffic mitigation plan” which would force Wynn Everett to consider the damage from air pollution their casino was likely to cause.

Curtatone countered that Wynn Resorts knew the appeal would come, and characterized the suspension of operations as a public stunt to raise sympathy. He suggested that it is absurd for the gaming company, which has built casinos everywhere from Las Vegas to China, to be surprised by the environmental appeals.

The mayor of Somerville said, “The appeals are a necessary part of the checks and balances to make sure we get it right. They knew the appeal was coming, and their claim that everything from this point on is the responsibility of the city of Somerville is really based on Wynn’s fantasy timeline where they are above the rules and regulations of this Commonwealth, and that they’re not subject to the normal appeals process.

Wanted to Protect Residents

Mayor Curtatone said he was not trying to stand in the way of jobs creation, but he had a public responsibility to the nearby residents to protect the health and well-being of their community — and their families.

Curtatone said, “We want to see good jobs come to the area as much as anybody else. As soon as Wynn is willing to step up to the plate to develop a responsible traffic plan and address our environmental concerns, then this project has a possibility of moving forward.