Boston Files New Suit to Strip Wynn of Mepa Certificate

By Seth Daniel

The City of Boston – just as it spoke of productive meetings last week with Wynn executives – quietly filed a new lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court’s Civil Division on Monday asking for a declaratory judgment that would void the environmental certificate (MEPA) awarded to Wynn by the state in late August – raising the ire of Wynn officials just as the ice between the two seemed to show signs of thawing.

“Wynn’s final environmental impact report failed to disclose the full extent of the serious environmental impacts–in particular, impacts related to traffic–that will be caused by the construction and operation of its proposed project, and further failed to demonstrate that all feasible measures have been taken to avoid or minimize those impacts,” read the opening of the 41-page, one count claim. “Wynn’s final environmental impact report thus violates MEPA and its implementing regulations.”

The suit, signed by Boston Corporate Counsel Gene O’Flaherty and outside Attorney Thomas Frongillo, called for a jury trial to invalidate the MEPA certificate.

The move came as quite a surprise to Wynn officials, who seemingly had no idea of the complaint until notified by the Boston Globe, which first reported the suit. Wynn officials, at that point, had been celebrating a key approval in Everett by that City’s Planning Board for the Wynn site plan. That had been approved Monday night, with news of the lawsuit crossing their desk the next day.

Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said it was another example of Boston using the press to generate negative publicity rather than legitimate legal claims.

“Once again, the City of Boston has used the media to deliver its inflammatory claims about Wynn Resorts,” said Weaver. “Although we are unable to comment directly until the City provides us a copy, we can only assume this claim is a restatement of their previous lawsuits, which thus far have been without merit.  This is certainly an unproductive way for the City to engage in a dialogue with our company, and will be unlikely to

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Just as Mayor Martin Walsh and the City’s administration had begun cursory meetings with Wynn executives and a relationship was seeming forming last week – all of that goodwill has likely been thrown out the window with the filing of a new lawsuit this week.

On Monday, the Mayor’s Office indicated that they had met with Wynn executives Matt Maddox and Kim Sinatra on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Mayor Walsh and Corporate Counsel Gene O’Flaherty had participated for the City.

“Mayor Walsh is exploring all options to resolve this matter on behalf of the people of Charlestown and the City of Boston,” read a statement from his office this week. “This includes conversations with Wynn officials around whether or not there is such an opportunity. Last week’s discussions were productive and they will continue.”

Said Wynn Spokesman Michael Weaver, “Each week, we make great progress in moving our project forward; our dialogue with the City of Boston is a part of that process.”

All that was on Monday, before the new lawsuit became public.No one was commenting about the newfound relationship and its status following the suit.

In other Wynn news:

•The Everett Planning Board approved Wynn’s site plan after a four-month process and the review thousands of pages of documents by City departments, the Board and an outside consultant employed by Everett. The vote was unanimous, 4-0. It was seen as a major victory as it opens up Wynn’s ability to apply for other permits, such as a foundation permit and a building permit.

•Last Thursday, the long Chapter 91 Waterways license got underway with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Wynn Las Vegas General Counsel Jacqui Krum said that Wynn has signed an agreement with DEP to fast track the process, meaning that the agency will due everything possible to conclude the process in six months or less.

•Wynn Consultant Chris Gordon said they have chosen a general contractor for the remediation cleanup project, but have not made the name public as they are checking the qualifications. He said the contractor would begin to mobilize as soon as those checks are completed. However, work won’t begin until two public meetings are concluded. The first will be in Everett on Oct. 13, and the second will be in Charlestown on Oct. 14. Those meetings will offer an update on the project and will discuss specifics about the remediation, including a truck route.

•The major contract coming up for the general contractor will get started in November. Gordon said they would be putting out a bid package in November and hopes to have a general contractor on board by January.

•Wynn has filed its permit with the Army Corps of Engineers.

•A permit application has also been filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address the building height and flight paths.

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