A very well-known gentleman I know from the North End who loves to play cards with the bad boys told me a great Carlo story that went something like this:
“Carlo played for hours one night with my buddies. He ended up owing thousands when he left the card table and headed home. He was pretty grim. Losing at cards is bad. Owing when you leave the table is worse.
“Anyway, before Carlo left the table, one of the bad boys in charge of the game asked him politely: ‘When do I get the money you owe.?’”
“Carlo turned to him and said: ‘Next week. Guaranteed. You know me,’ he added, my buddy told me.
“Yeah, Carlo. That’s what I’m worried about,” my buddy told me the North End guy said to him with a grimace.
“’See you next week Carlo. I’ll be waiting right here. No excuses, Carlo,’” he said, according to my buddy.
Next week came and passed.
No Carlo. No payment.
The fellow in the North End was getting a bit impatient. Mind you, this wasn’t about Encore not paying its in lieu of tax bill to the city even though the payment was guaranteed by the host agreement.
“Where’s my money? “the North End gentleman asked Carlo during a phone call after waiting patiently several weeks, my buddy told me.
Carlo responded adroitly. After all, he is the mayor, a big crap shooter really up on his toes and aware of everything going on in his world.
“Oh. I already paid what I owed you,” Carlo exclaimed, my friend told me.
Encore’s failure to pay the City of Everett our in lieu of tax payment on time is an outrage.
Encore’s apparent payment of what they owe the city is another outrage.
What will the mayor do about it?
He is beholden to the casino and hotel. He has no power over the executives at Encore, and no pull with the folks at the parent, Wynn Resorts. With Steve Wynn out of the picture, the mayor is unable to mitigate against Encore’s unilateral change of policy to pay the state instead of the city.
Now the city must go to the state and ask, or beg, however it works during this time of virus shutdown and curtailed state services, for the money the city needs to run its budget and to provide city services.
First reports indicate the city might receive what it is owed – more than $10 million by the end of August.
What has happened in Springfield with MGM attempting to renegotiate its host agreement with the city there has now begun here with Encore.
The city’s savior, the brainchild of the mayor, has apparently changed the host agreement unilaterally by sidestepping Everett on a $10 million payment it owes in lieu of taxes.
Instead of paying the city what it owed since March as promised for July 15, Encore has apparently paid the state, and then the state will pay the city.
Several councilors have conceded that’s a nice how do you do coming at a perilous moment when the city’s finances are in question.
Expenses are exceeding income, and budget cuts, layoffs and salary reductions have been levied to bridge the income gap.
“It gives me great concern that Encore would pay the state rather than the city like they did in the first and second quarter. It’s a big concern they would do that,” said City Councilor Mike McLaughlin.
“It shows irresponsibility on the part of Encore. Out of four payments, they’ve only gotten one payment right and on time. Not a great track record,” he said.
For the mayor, who brought Encore to the city, the payment gaffe is an agonizing twist.
Encore was to have been a panacea for the city. The city’s financial difficulties were over with the coming of the casino, according to the mayor.
“Instead, it looks as though our money problems have multiplied,” said Councilor at Large Mike Marchese.
The mayor’s announcement last week that he will be taking $7 million of free cash to bring down the city’s tax rate is a waste of good money. Rather than taking $7 million in free cash from the city’s bank account to artificially lower taxes which are frankly running away, the mayor needs to cut the bloated budget by $7-$9 million, keep the $7 million dry in the free cash account.
The taxes will then take care of themselves, lowering themselves because the city is spending less.