Who Cuts the Ribbon with Kickback Carlo at Casino Opening?
By Josh Resnek
The CEO of Wynn Resorts Matt Maddox came in for a visit here with me on Church Street over the weekend.
It was a surprise visit. He told me not to say a word about it, and I won’t.
He didn’t instruct me not to write about it – so here it is – some of the choice things we discussed during our conversation.
“That was quite a negotiation you had with MGM to sell the place. One day you were selling it. The next day the negotiations were stopped. What’s that all about, Matt,” I asked him.
“That’s all about me playing with the Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners,” he answered. They haven’t seen anything, yet.”
“Are you going to pay the fine, and your own fine – and are you going to allow for a mentor to check on all the decisions you make everyday?” I asked him.
“Josh, Im paying the fines on Tuesday.”
I could feel him getting annoyed.
After all, its hard to annoy a guy making $24 million a year running a legally sanctioned multi – billion money laundering operation.
“Who do those commissioners think they are ruling that I need an independent councilor to track all my business decisions? Do they not know who I am?”
I was taught that guys that said things like that about themselves needed to be watched carefully.
“The problem is Matt that they do know who you are and frankly, after getting to know you, they decided you couldn’t be entirely trusted. Let’s be serious, Matt, that’s how they feel. They know who you are. They know you can’t be trusted.”
Wait a minute, Josh,” Matt said to me.
“Do they not trust me because I said I never knew anything about Steve’s private life after working for him for 20 years?”
“That’s a good question, isn’t it,” Matt.
“Yeah. If you could say with a straight face you knew nothing about your boss after working with him every day up close for two decades, well, what does that say about you?’ I asked Matt.
“It says about you that you are blinder than a bat,” I said to Matt.
“It says you’re a liar, when you get right down to it because we all know, everyone with common sense knows, you know everything about your former boss, and what’s more, you like your former boss. You look up to him. You understand his genius. You struggle to lead the company that is quite lost without him at the helm, Matt,” isn’t that all true, I asked him.
“Can we change the subject, Josh?” he asked me.
“OK. Let’s talk about the upcoming ribbon cutting.”
“Nice. I’m looking forward to it but there are problems,” he answered. “What do I do with Kickback Carlo?” he said.
“What do you mean?” I replied.
“Do you think I’m going to stand next to him at the ribbon cutting with his sexual harassment allegations hanging over him? I read the Globes coverage of all of them. What women are willing to be on the podium with me if Kickback Carlo stands next to me? It would be like having Steve (Wynn) standing next to me,” Matt said. “Not good public relations.”
He grew thoughtful.
“Those two are a lot alike. That’s why they got along. Allegations brought Steve down. How does Kickback remain standing?”
“He remains standing because he has protection, I believe, from the FBI,” I answered.
“Yeah. What’s that all about him talking to the FBI and signing a proffer? Rob DeSalvio hasn’t even done that. I couldn’t believe that when I read it in the Leader Herald. Do you think I want to talk with Kickback on the telephone? You’ve got be kidding me. It’s like talking to the FBI,” he added. ”He’s a real time danger zone.”
Matt asked me for a water. I got up, I ran to our small refrigerator in the front room of the office and grabbed a Poland Spring for him.
“Love Poland Spring,” he said smiling widely, his bald head shining just a bit in the sunlight coming into the office through the window that faces Liberty Street. He twisted off the top and raised it to his mouth and took three or four big gulps.
“I understand Poland Spring water doesn’t come from a spring. It comes from a water tap!” he exclaimed as if telling a joke. He laughed so hard – and for a moment – he seemed like a human being to me.
“What do I do with Kickback?” he repeated.
“There is no end to what this guy asks for,” he said.
I explained to Matt that one of Kickback’s favorite expressions tells a lot about him.
“What’s in it for me,” I told him Kickback is always asking.
“I’ve heard that. Unreal, isn’t it,” Matt said.
“Why doesn’t someone pay him to go away? What would that cost?” Matt asked me.
“I could buy him off in a nano second,” Matt said. “Can you imagine?” “I hate talking with him about anything. I’d rather stick nails in my eyes,” he said to me.
“Is the governor going to stand next to him to cut the ribbon? What about the Lt. Gov.? and how about the Chair of the Gaming Commission and the Speaker of the House? Are these people going to want to be photographed with him? He could be indicted at anytime.”
“What the hell am I going to do?” he cried out.
*Editor’s Note: Matt Maddox has never visited me on Church Street. This piece is intended as satire, nothing else.