Lately, the news hasn’t been good for Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn. He’s trying to kick his ex-wife off the Wynn Resorts board of directors, and the infighting is getting nasty. The Baker administration told him late Friday night that he needed to resolve long-term traffic issues in Sullivan Square by working with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who is suing Wynn in court. To top it all off, Wynn’s $6 million purchase of a sliver of MBTA land in Everett is being called illegal and may be reversed.
Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo, who favored his hometown in the casino sweepstakes, is calling on the attorney general and the inspector general to investigate Wynn’s MBTA land deal. Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi suggests the T deal could lead to the unraveling of Wynn’s proposed Everett casino.
Let’s take a look at each of Wynn’s problems.
THE T LAND DEAL — Vennochi says Wynn needed the T land to secure an entrance to his proposed casino that wasn’t located in Boston. Without the T land, she says, Wynn would have had to treat Boston as a host community and allow hostile Charlestown residents to vote on the project. Vennochi’s analysis is essentially what Boston argued before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission early last year. But the commission, by a 4-0 vote, rejected Boston’s argument, ruling that the proposed Everett casino was located entirely in Everett, even with an entrance that was partly located in Boston. The whole T land issue had no impact on the decision.
Matthew Beaton, the state secretary of energy and environmental affairs, ruled Friday that the T’s sale of land to Wynn violated the state’s environmental permitting statute because the transaction occurred prior to the completion of his office’s review process. Beaton said the land sale was “regrettable,” but the tone of his letter indicated it was not the end of the world. He wanted the T to fully explain its actions and he wanted Wynn and the T to explain “how MBTA infrastructure and operations are protected under the terms of the transfer.”
WYNN AND WALSH — Walsh is suing Wynn in court and pledging to do everything in his power to undermine the Wynn casino because it threatens the city’s plans to turn Sullivan Square into a low-traffic pedestrian promenade. Beaton, in his Friday night pronouncement, ordered Wynn and Walsh to work together to address long-term traffic issues in Sullivan Square. This is Wynn’s worst nightmare, negotiating with an opponent who has all sorts of leverage to tie him up in knots.
ELAINE WYNN — Steve Wynn is trying to remove his ex-wife from the company board, but she’s not going quietly. She’s been telling shareholders she’s an independent voice on the board and a splash of diversity as the lone woman among a group of white men. A group called Institutional Shareholder Services did a scrub of Elaine Wynn and the board’s own two nominees and ended up recommending shareholders vote against all three of them, in part because of the board’s sloppy oversight of Steve Wynn’s pay, his free use of the corporate jet, and the lack of a succession policy.
“There appears to be no daylight between Elaine Wynn and the rest of the board on tolerating weak governance practices, poor pay practices, or an overall corporate governance profile that ranks among the worst, not the best, of US companies,” the report said.
The casino story just keeps getting stranger and stranger.
Because the Legislature is taking fewer roll call votes and those that are taken come after most disputes are settled, the Environmental League of Massachusetts is changing the way it grades lawmakers. (CommonWealth)
The Lowell Sun, in an editorial, says it supports Gov. Charlie Baker’s bid to balance the state budget without raising taxes or fees, but the newspaper says proposed cuts at Tewksbury Hospital make no sense.
The panel appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to review the MBTA finds that excessive absenteeism caused the cancellation of 6,400 bus trips in January and February. It also finds that $2 billion budgeted since 2009 for upgrades was never spent. (Boston Globe)
Continued delays in the state rollout of the new medical marijuana dispensary system have led some investors to bail and are putting other would-be operators in a financial squeeze. (Boston Globe)
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is at the center of a murky employment case involving an ex-employee at a nonprofit whose board of directors Goldberg chaired. (Boston Globe)
MARATHON BOMBING TRIAL
To no one’s surprise, Judy Clarke, the lead attorney for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose goal is not acquittal but to spare her client the death penalty, offers a closing argument that tries to paint Tsarnaev as an “adolescent” who was guilty of following the lead of his influential, older brother in carrying out the heinous acts of two years ago this month. (Boston Globe)
Attorney General Maura Healey, a staunch death penalty opponent, says she’d make no exception for admitted Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Greater Boston)
Town meeting members in Winchendon approve spending nearly $300,000 to buy out the contract of Town Manager James Kreidler Jr., who stirred anger last year when he revealed the community was facing a $3.8 million deficit. (Telegram & Gazette)
Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay withdrew her proposal to place an $18.5 million debt exclusionoverride before voters. (Patriot Ledger)
Problems discovered with the foundation of the old Quincy City Hall will add millions to the cost of the restoration project. (Patriot Ledger)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launches an Office of Financial Empowerment. (WBUR)
A consultant hired by the two casino-owning Connecticut tribes reports that new gambling facilities in New York and Massachusetts will siphon $570 million in gambling revenue away. (Associated Press)
California is considering launching a state earned income tax credit. In Massachusetts, Gov. Baker has proposed raising the state’s earned income tax credit and paying for it by doing away with the film tax credit. (Los Angeles Times)
After food poisoning outbreaks from eggs, peanut butter, and spinach five years ago, Congress passed sweeping changes in food safety regulations but has failed to fund the Food and Drug Administration to meet the mandates. (New York Times)
Jeb Bush says he made a mistake in 2009 when he listed his ethnicity as Hispanic on a voter-registration form in Florida. He is now being compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who described herself as Native American in her run for the Senate. (Governing)
Bush put an end to race-based college admissions in Florida, and now some universities are seeing a sharp decline in black enrollment. (Washington Post)
The new hotel going up on the former Bird’s Eye industrial site in Gloucester is starting to take shape. The hotel is being built by New Balance owner Jim Davis and Cruiseport Gloucester’s Sheree Zizik. (Gloucester Times)
The latest focus in Boston’s overheated development climate: The 5.6-acre Boston Flower Exchange site in the South End, which has at least three bidders topping the $35 million offer made for the site last year. (Boston Globe)
Boston Public Schools teachers who are in an “excess pool” of 72 instructors who have the job protection of tenure but no classroom assignment under a new system that gives principals much more leeway over who teaches in their buildings say they are being passed over in favor of lower-cost, younger teachers, a claim district officials deny. (Boston Herald)
The Boston schools are failing black and Latino males by treating all students as if they are the same, according to a new report. (CommonWealth)
The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam surveys Boston city councilors and school committee members about where they send their children to school, with the answers looking a lot like those of Boston families overall — a mix of public, private, and parochial schools.
Bridgewater State University officials will install security cameras at the school’s day care center after a student intern was charged with raping two children. (The Enterprise)
Pittsfield moves to plug a nearly $2 million school budget deficit. (Berkshire Eagle)
An MIT graduate student has open-sourced his treatment for a brain tumor. (Boston Globe)
Former transportation secretary Jim Aloisi says it’s time to pop the trial balloon floated by the Baker administration’s T panel to pursue more reform before adding revenue. But theEagle-Tribune editorializes against investing more money right now in the T, saying it would be like adding more wings and floors on to a home whose foundation is crumbling.
The MetroWest Daily News argues that Keolis needs to stop the excuses and get back on track.
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who taught President Obama when he was a law student there and became an advisor during Obama’s first term, is representing the country’s largest coal company in suing the administration over plans to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. (New York Times)
Huge numbers of sea lions are washing up on California beaches, allegedly because of climate change. (Time)
Nine district attorneys dismiss arguments against minimum mandatory sentences in a joint letter to the editor in the Globe.
Closing arguments are scheduled for today in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (Herald News)
Gun control activist John Rosenthal says the move by billboard company Clear Channel to remove gun control messages from its signs after complaints from a local NRA affiliate has prompted $25,000 in donations to his group, Stop Handgun Violence. (Boston Globe)
The Cambridge man being held in connection with the discovery of human remains in several locations in and around a Kendall Square apartment building is recalled by someone who worked out at the same gym with him as a hot-tempered guy with a propensity for violent outbursts. (Boston Herald)
Globe editor Brian McGrory tells staff to ramp up their “digital first” efforts. (Media Nation)
The fraternity at the University of Virginia that was at the center of a debunked story of gang rape in Rolling Stone is considering a suit against the magazine. (U.S. News & World Report)
Science Babe says the Food Babe is “full of shit.” (Gawker)