The war of words between the city of Somerville and Wynn casinos amped up Tuesday. In a rare visit to the area, Steve Wynn showed off a model of his planned Everett casino, and said despite an ongoing environmental challenge from Somerville, he thinks the project will break ground in July. Wynn said he thinks Somerville is challenging the project because Wynn is actually offering so much mitigation.

“I think that the mayor of Somerville says ‘uh oh, because of those damn Wynn guys, they shined a bright light on mitigation.’”

Wynn went on to suggest Somerville is concerned that it will have to match Wynn’s level of mitigation on its own future projects. Mayor Curtatone dismisses that and says he’ll keep fighting until Wynn does more to lessen the casino’s impacts on his city.

“They can spend this time during this appeal process to engage in a constructive conversation, and we can be honest and sincere about the issues that are outstanding and how to address them cooperatively, or they can invest their time in political theater and such rhetoric that really isn’t constructive.”

Wynn says there’s no way that Somerville is going to get more money by delaying his casino project with an environmental appeal.
“The chances of that are a perfect zero,” Wynn told reporters Tuesday.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has consistently said his city’s appeal isn’t about money, but rather about mitigating the environmental impacts of the casino, including air quality. Wynn said he didn’t know what that was about.
“Air quality?" he asked, sticking his tongue out and making a universal sound for derision, sometimes called a "raspberry." 

"You got to be kidding,” he added.
Reporters explained the air quality issue related to increased traffic.
“Traffic?" he asked, more agitated. "We’re mitigating the traffic! He’s never lifted a finger to mitigate anything!”
Mayor Curtatone says Wynn’s traffic mitigation hasn’t focused on Somerville, and he called Wynn’s response to the question sad.
“It says to the 78,000 people in Somerville, it says to the people in environmental justice zones, some of the vulnerable populations, every day sucking in air pollution that puts their health at risk, you know, see you later. You don’t matter.”
Wynn met with the mayors of several communities surrounding the Everett project. Curtatone wasn’t invited.

As he spoke with reporters in Medford on Tuesday, Wynn stood in front of a newly unveiled model of the planned development, which they're now calling Wynn Boston Harbor. He proudly showed off renderings of the entrance, which includes arched escalators and a statue of Popeye by Jeff Koons that Wynn said he bought for $27 million (news reports at time say the statue cost Wynn $28 million). Wynn emphasized that visitors will be able to visit the property and take advantage of what it will have to offer, without ever seeing a slot machine, unless they want to.

Wynn dismissed any potential challenge from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which announced Monday that they plan to begin construction on a casino in Taunton in April. Wynn said he welcomed the competition, and he said his company has succeeded in crowded marketplaces in the past, because of their quality.