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Casino may not open in June; City officials had no idea

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At the center of this photograph a grandfather and his grandchild are enjoying a stroll through a new piece of green park growing across from the nearly completed Encore Casino and Hotel. It is
1p.m. Monday afternoon and there isn’t a bit of traffic.

By Josh Resnek

The June 23 opening date for the Wynn Encore casino and hotel has apparently been put off for at least a week or maybe two weeks according to Wynn CEO Matthew Maddox.

The nearly 3 million square foot mega project, the largest single business development in Massachusetts in state history, will likely have to wait until the beginning of July to open, according to a spate of articles following Maddox’s comments.

His comments came on May 9, during a first quarter earnings call, to investors and investment companies. “I don’t know if the opening date will be June 23 or a week or two later, because we’re going to make sure that it’s flawless,” Maddox said. “And clearly the regulatory complexity we’ve been through has been a challenge. And so now we’re doubling back. We may give ourself another week (or two), we may not. But the property looks great.”

News of the opening date change caught local politicians, and especially the mayor, by surprise.

No public comments about the delay were made to public officials here by Wynn Resorts executives on the ground in Everett, chief among them, John Tocco.

Tocco is Encore’s liaison to the city government.

“That shows you what they’re willing to tell us. What they are willing to tell us is whatever they want us to hear,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky, a sharp critic of Encore’s ability to share important information with the city and with him.

The mayor did not respond to the Leader Herald’s request for a comment.

It is not believed the mayor had anything meaningful to add to the situation as he was not informed by Encore officials of the change.

On the other hand, if he was informed of the opening day cancellation, he failed to make note of it publicly for reasons known only to himself.

This reveals the drastically changed relationships now morphing into play between the mayor and Wynn officials, and especially with Maddox, with whom the mayor has very little access at this point.

The mayor’s chief contact and working partner on the project was the now disgraced founder of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn.

The mayor and Wynn shared many likenesses – pomposity, disingenuousness and dark secrets. These tied them together.

Maddox, on the other hand, is said to want to have nothing to do with the mayor, leaving the mayor out of the loop when it comes to determining exactly what is going on and why.

Maddox remains the whole show. His distancing from the mayor is considered a difficulty the city needs to overcome if the relationship between Wynn Resorts and the city of Everett is to succeed.

Maddox also seemed to imply that Wynn Resorts might yet question in court the results of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s finding against the company, which includes two fines, $35 million against Wynn Resorts, and $500,000 against Maddox. Maddox also needs to be mentored and tutored about how he must comport himself as the leader of the company.

Interviews with several new job holders at the Encore reveals that sexual harassment training has been “right on the mark and very well administered” according to several new job holders at the facility who did not wish to make their identities known.

Also, many new job holders will be receiving their first paychecks this week – even though the opening has likely been put off.

Wynn Resorts, Maddox has said, may yet challenge some of the stipulations in the MGC’s findings.

How such a court challenge would relate to the payment of the fines and the physical act of actually awarding the license allowing the company to open are unknown.

However the widely shared belief that Wynn Resorts would be fined, would pay the fine instantly and get on with it, is presently down the drain.

Meanwhile, finishing touches are being made throughout the sprawling complex.

“Two weeks is no big deal to Wynn Resorts,” said a Boston businessman familiar with how the company operates.

“If it goes to a month or more, then everyone needs to start worrying,” he added.

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