City Suing Baker Administration Over Power Plant Tax Deal

By Joshua Resnek

The City of Everett is suing to overturn a 1999 tax agreement that gave a large tax break to the Exelon power plants on Everett property on the shore of the Mystic River.

The city has hired the powerful Boston law firm of Mintz Levin to litigate the issue.

Leading the team of lawyers for Mintz Levin is former Governor William Weld.

One of the chief questions surrounding the suit is exactly how much Mintz Levin and the former governor are being paid to litigate an issue with an apparently small chance of being settled in the city’s favor.

Efforts to get a copy of the city’s contract to read the small print and to see what the city is paying the high powered legal firm were unsuccessful.

The Leader Herald was told by officials in the mayor’s office to file a FOIA in order for the city solicitor to send us a contract.

FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act.

The city has ten days to comply with the request.

Exelon, the power giant who owns the facilities, and a series of previous owners, paid the city approximately $300 million in taxes since 2000.

Exelon claims the deal is fair.

The city claims it has been cheated.

The city wants more.

The 20 year tax agreement under which the payments were made and are continuing to be made– called a TIF – ends in 2020.

For the first ten years, the city received by agreement $17.5 million a year.

For the next decade, the city was paid closer to $15 million a year.

Before the arrival of Wynn’s casino project, Exelon was the city’s largest taxpayer and actually remains the largest taxpayer until Wynn opens the doors to his casino-hotel project in 2019.

Everett is alleging that the power plant is worth much more than when the deal was consummated, a point contested by Exelon, and therefore Exelon should be paying much more in property taxes to the city.

Exelon is one of the largest energy suppliers in the United States.

Exelon employs 34,000 people.

It’s stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange today at $38 a share.

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