Steve and Marty made a deal, and now it's up to the State Gaming Commission to seal it with a kiss.
In exchange for withdrawing Boston’s lawsuit to halt the construction of the $1.7 billion casino in Everett, gambling mogul Steve Wynn has agreed to pay the city $400,000 more a year on top of the $1.6 annual mitigation payment now in effect.
The terms of the agreement broke early Wednesday night in a story on The Boston Globe’s website. City Hall released the full details a short time later.
As part of the deal, Wynn will withdraw the counter suit alleging defamation that was filed against Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
At first glance, Walsh comes out smelling like roses.
In an editorial headlined “Walsh made the right call on Everett casino deal”, the Globe praised the mayor for creating a new “silver lining” which more equitably compensates the city for the impact of the casino.
The old 15-year deal was worth $24 million.
The new 15-year deal adds another $6 million.
Here are the details as released by City Hall.
"The agreement includes:
The agreement states further commitments by Wynn Resorts for traffic improvements, including Transportation Demand Management measures, a transportation monitoring program and additional mitigation measures if operational deficiencies are revealed."
Walsh's office did not put a precise value on the new deal versus the old.
A spokesman did, however, illuminate some of the specifics: the $250 thousand for the regional working group is new money; the traffic mitigation represents an increase of $6 million over the previous amount; and -- perhaps most notably -- the $25 million for Sullivan Square improvements is also found money.
To date, Boston has spent an estimated $1.9 million dollars in legal fees battling Wynn. $750 million of the "professional services" item essentially puts the sunk costs of the total deal at $1.15 million.
Fine details aside, the bottom line of the new Wynn agreement is far less than what Walsh said he was shooting for. On June 31 last year, the mayor told WGBH News's Boston Public Radio that he was aiming for "nine figures" -- hundreds of millions of dollars.
How any settlement happens, Walsh said, was "just as important as the amount of money."
Friends of City Hall could interpret this as a sage qualification, or escape clause. More skeptical observers might say Walsh fell short of his own mark.
Boston being Boston, expect pushback to materialize fairly quickly.
Even though Walsh has been a long-time supporter of casino gambling (and hoped to have the state’s biggest casino situated in East Boston), hard-core opponents of legal gaming harbored hopes that the mayor might inadvertently put the kibosh on the slot, roulette, and blackjack palace.
And then there are the residents of Charlestown, who may feel that Walsh compromised for too little. It was on behalf of Charlestown, that Walsh had gone to the mat with Wynn, arguing that the impact of traffic through the neighborhood by gamblers on their way to Everett would present real and serious problems.