A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Caesars Entertainment against Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby. The ruling uses language that could spell trouble for other lawsuits filed against the commission by Boston, Somerville, Revere, and Mohegan Sun.
Caesars filed its lawsuit against Crosby and Karen Wells, the head of the Gaming Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, after the IEB issued a report questioning the suitability of Caesar’s to hold a casino license. Caesars at the time was partnering on an East Boston casino bid with the owners of Suffolk Downs. The damaging report prompted the horse track’s owners to dump Caesars and team up with Mohegan Sun.
The Gaming Commission report raised concerns about the shaky finances of Caesars and its business dealings with three individuals with unsavory backgrounds, including one with ties to Russian organized crime.
Caesars alleged in its lawsuit that Crosby was biased against the company because he wanted the eastern Massachusetts casino license to go to Wynn Resorts. Wynn wanted to build its casino in Everett, on land in which a former business partner of Crosby’s held a stake. Crosby later recused himself from all involvement in the awarding of the eastern Massachusetts casino license.
The federal appeals court ruling, written by Judge David Souter, focused on a number of technical legal issues. But it also took note of the wide latitude given to the Gaming Commission by the state gaming statute.
For example, Souter said the gaming statute “invests the Commission with an apparently unlimited scope for discretionary judgment,” which is another way of saying the Commission can do pretty much whatever it wants.That’s bad news for Boston, Somerville, and Revere, which are all alleging that the Gaming Commission showed bias and did not follow proper procedures in awarding a casino license to Wynn.
Souter also cited the statute itself, which says “the Commission shall have full discretion as to whether to issue a license. Applicants shall have no legal right or privilege to a gaming license and shall not be entitled to any further review if denied by the Commission.” That language would appear to be bad news for Mohegan Sun, which filed its lawsuit after losing out to Wynn in its bid for the eastern Massachusetts casino license.
Most of the media coverage of the Gaming Commission’s report on Caesars focused on the alleged links to Russian organized crime. Concern about the company’s shaky finances received far less attention, but in retrospect perhaps that section of the report should have received more. As Souter noted in a footnote to his ruling, the largest unit of Caesars, once the largest casino company in the world, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month while struggling under a debt load of $18 billion.
MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott says the system may not be operating at full strength for up to 30 days — and that’s provided we don’t get hit with any more significant snowfall. The T shut down its Greenbush line during the Tuesday morning commute, citing ice and snow, and has eliminated the Plymouth station from its other Old Colony line for the foreseeable future.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo comes down hard on the T in an interview with WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller, saying the transit authority hasn’t been shortchanged by Beacon Hill and suggesting reforms and personnel changes are coming in the wake of the T’s struggles with snow. “What happened? Why weren’t we prepared?” asks DeLeo.
The Herald suggests the T ignored several recommendations of an 2013 internal report on maintenance projects that could head off bigger problems down the road.
The Herald likes the Pioneer Institute‘s idea of putting the T into receivership.
Plumbers, tow truck operators, and snow plow businesses are doing just fine amidst the unending storms, thank you, even as lots of other businesses suffer.
Northeastern University takes a U-turn, agreeing to resume payments in lieu of taxes to the city of Boston, CommonWealth reports.
Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini is elected president of the Massachusetts Mayors Association, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
It’s a turn toward deficit spending for cities and towns that have depleted their snow removal budgets.
A warrant has been issued for a Brockton man who failed to show up in court after being charged with threatening to kill Mayor Bill Carpenter.
Neither the iconic Boston Marathon course from Hopkinton to Boston nor the course of the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest rowing competition, meet Olympic standards and could be used in Boston 2024 Games, reports the Globe.
Developers for a proposed casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds met with city officials to lay out their plan and city councilors say a vote by Brockton residents could be held in May if a host community agreement can be hammered out soon.
A federal judge in Texas approves an injunction against President Obama’s immigration plan, Time reports. The New York Times says Judge Andrew Hanen has been outspoken in his opposition to Obama’s immigration policies.
US Rep. Seth Moulton raises concerns about President Obama’s war powers request, the Salem News reports.
The National Review takes on those who think the lack of a college degree disqualifies Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from running for president, saying he fits in with the majority of Americans and running out the usual list of accomplished folks who also had no sheepskin.
The Boston Archdiocese is looking to help the church’s finances by leasing underutilized real estate for private development.
The state Historical Commission has ruled that a proposed cell tower in Dartmouth would have an “adverse visual effect” on a historic agricultural district in the town.
A study by Stanford University finds there is an “empathy gap” when it comes to getting men to donate to charitable causes, saying the best approach to open their wallets is to appeal to their self-interest.
An analysis by a George Washington University professor finds that income inequality has not risen since the financial crisis began in 2007, turning the narrative on the gap on its head.
State officials recommend the Bentley Elementary School in Salem become a Horace Mann Charter School, the Salem News reports.
Jeb Bush‘s support for Common Core standards is likely to create trouble for him with some of the Republican Party’s conservative base.
UMass Amherst bans Iranians from chemistry and physics programs, Time reports.
A group of elected officials, including US Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Attorney General Maura Healey, want the the federal government to forgive loans made by a for-profit college that has saddled lots of students with heavy debt, but not decent-paying jobs.
Advocates for illegal immigrants are lobbying for a bill on Beacon Hill that would grant in-state tuition rates and financial aid for the state’s public colleges and universities to undocumented students living in Massachusetts.
The White House has blasted congressional Republicans who want to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law and cut education funding by $7 billion over the next six years.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that hot flashes, experienced by as many as 80 percent of middle-aged women, can last as long as 14 years after menopause, significantly longer than previously believed.
Paul Levy questions Google‘s new approach to searching medical conditions, a change that was made in partnership with the renowned Mayo Clinic.
Craig Altemose of the Better Future Project offers a plug for the failing Cape Wind project.
Two Quincy city councilors, including one running for mayor, are challenging Mayor Thomas Koch‘s spending $360,000 to fight the federal flood zone map without the City Council’s approval.
The fatal shooting of an unarmed Mexican migrant worker in Pasco, Washington, the third incidence of deadly force by that community’s police since July, has drawn comparisons to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as international condemnation.
The Atlantic reports on why Twitter is more worthless as a content sharing vehicle than most people think.