— Eye on Everett —

An Excruciating Wait

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By Josh Resnek

Kickback Carlo is uptight.

He wants the casino to open on June 23.

This is a big moment in his life – perhaps the biggest.

A casino opening in a place like Everett is a once in lifetime thing. The largely irresponsible mayor is responsible for bringing the casino here. He brought Steve Wynn to the city.

That is on his shoulders.

Steve Wynn’s excesses are a bit like the mayor’s.

They are a past history that won’t go away, that impacts everything they do.

The mayor is uptight.

We are all a bit uptight.

Whether you are opposed to casino gambling or welcome it, the wait right now to see what exactly happens is excruciating.

Much is at stake.

The city’s financial well being, and the social and political effect of the casino coming is another gaggle to deal with.

Right now, the June 23 opening is hanging in the balance. It rests upon what the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decides. For Kickback, this is a time to sweat just a bit, to worry, to fret about…the license, the suitability of Encore, which the GMC is now weighing and measuring.

It is in a way, a measuring of himself, of what he has brought to the city.

A loss is his. A victory is his. Anything halfway he owns.

Last week was a gaggle for Kickback, for the Encore and Wynn officials, for everyone involved in the proceedings.

The proceedings didn’t go the way Wynn Resorts wanted it to go.

Matt Maddox came off as someone who knew nothing about anything – even though he led the company for the past 12 years and had worked for 20 years for Steve Wynn.

Maddox knew nothing about what his boss had done. Nor did he know anything about the culture of sexual harassment perpetuated by coverups and payoffs by Mr. Wynn and and many of his underlings in nearly every level of the organization.

The MGC commissioners had a tough time accepting Maddox apologizing about knowing nothing.

And they had a special problem when it was revealed that Maddox approved of the surveillance by former FBI agents of Mrs. Wynn.

Maddox admitting to this was an uncomfortable moment.

The women commissioners seemed especially angry and unable to connect with Maddox and Bob DeSalvio and with Mrs. Wynn.

Does any of this mean anything in the wider sense about what is about to happen?

I don’t know.

Nearly every gambler among us, and this includes the mayor, have bet that Wynn Resorts achieves suitability status and gets the license. Betting against this outcome is like betting against the odds, which are in favor of giving suitability because the project is too big to be tanked by the MGC or anyone for that matter.

The project is too big to be allowed to fail.

This is how the thinking goes for the mayor and his crew and for those of us who understand just how important the casino is to the city as the MGC decides what it is going to do.

Will there be a cost for Wynn Resorts to gain suitability?

Of course there is a cost. There is always a price to be paid for gaining a license when it has been proven that you originally got the designation because you lied and cheated your way to gain it.

One of the experts I speak with several times a week, who is a master at making mountains of money, claims the MGC will force Wynn Resorts to pay $35 million and that everything will be forgotten.

I am not sure of this after paying close attention to the meetings.

I got the impression that the MGC is not going to perform a rollover, rather, it might actually issue a decision that shakes the earth here.

Only the commissioners know and they aren’t saying.

If they vote for Wynn Resorts suitability, then they are voting against Wynn Resorts credibility.

As for Maddox, what might he overlook or fail to see during the next 20 years of his tenure at Wynn Resorts, the commissioners all thought. The commissioners were awed at his selective amnesia, so awed that many present got the feeling the MGC might do something unusual when their ruling comes down.

It is hard to predict what these MGC commissioners are going to do exactly – even though the bettors all agree, their decision will be the rough equivalent of lets forget about the past and get going into the future.

This is Massachusetts, however. These commissioners are not like their Nevada counterparts.

Massachusetts is not Nevada, even in an environment where the Nevada style casino/hotel project is too big to fail.

The MGC commissioners don’t really care about the June 23 opening day. They don’t care about the casino’s income or its profits or how Everett will weather a storm if it comes.

What do they care about?

They care about themselves and their reputations.

They want to get this right, and the suspicion is that the new chair of the MGC, Cathy Judd-Stein, did not take her position from the governor to ruin her long and distinguished career as an upper echelon lawyer for the state’s governors – five of them during the past 20 years.

If they aren’t bought, if she isn’t bought, then they are preparing to make a decision that’s on the level.

And if they are bought, as many suspect, the decision is still being made at least to appear as though it is on the level.

The rampant bettors talk that there will be a fine and everything is great does not seem any longer to fit the pro forma for a decision to be made. If the MGC fines Wynn Resorts and allows it suitability to hold a license, they are deciding that the law doesn’t matter, that what matters is the money, only.

The MGC didn’t buy the sweet talking unreality of Maddox nor of DeSalvio nor of Elaine Wynn.

The hearings were nasty. They revealed what these Wynn Resorts people are made of.

There was a question and answer at the end of the third day of hearings that I believe tells the story about where this is all heading.

It went a bit like this:

“So what will you do if you don’t get the license,” asked one of the commissioners of a high ranking Wynn Resorts executive.

“What do you care?” Is how he answered.

That interaction showed what big feeling people the Wynn Resorts executives consider themselves to be.

They feel they’ve done enough. The MGC should simply say bygones should be bygones and let’s get on with it.

Maybe that happens. Maybe it does not.

Bottom line, everyone involved in this project is a bit edgy as the big decision gets set to come down.

Kickback Carlo is edgy about the decision. What a decision that will be.

Whatever it is, what a decision it will be.

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