If one has ever played the children’s game ‘telephone,’ then one knows that there can be two radically different versions of what was said when the game concludes.
This week, the casino stalemate between Boston and Wynn Everett has taken a turn towards such a game – with two very different versions of a recent telephone call between Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Wynn owner Steve Wynn.
Despite the pause in the casino litigation, yet another war of words has erupted this week between Walsh and Wynn. And once again, the genesis of the recent controversy started in a radio interview on WGBH last Friday where Walsh said Wynn had called him and offered him more money to calm the situation down.
Wynn officials said this week that they totally deny that claim by Walsh.
“Mr. Wynn made no offer of additional money,” said Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver.
A spokesman for Walsh said on Monday that the mayor of Boston is sticking to his version of the conversation.
Walsh indicated that after being offered additional money, he had told Wynn that it wasn’t about money, but rather about a vote for the people of Charlestown on the casino issue.
“He threw a figure at me about money but it’s really not about the money,” Walsh said on the radio. “It’s about allowing the people of Charlestown to vote. And I said to him, well, when can we get together because I’m available. And he said, well how about after Labor Day… He called me. So at some point we’ll sit down and talk, if I get reached out to, and we’ll see…I’ll talk to anyone; we’ve said all along we’re not going to talk and our concerns have been with mainly the way that the Gaming Commission has handled Boston in this particular case but we’ll have a conversation and I’ll express to Mr. Wynn and the Wynn folks the importance of making sure the people of Charlestown have the opportunity to have their voices heard.”
When asked how much money, it was put forth by the radio host that perhaps they were talking about “nine figures,” meaning somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.
“Yeah that’s what we talked about,” the mayor said. “But again, it’s about how it happens. We’ll talk it through when we have a chance to talk. This isn’t personal.”
Wynn officials said they had a very different understanding of the conversation, and the Wynn made no offer of any additional money.
“(Mr. Wynn) did advise the mayor that hundreds of millions had been spent already in the pursuit of our $1.7 billion project that will create 4,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs and reaffirmed the Company’s current mitigation package to the City,” said Weaver. “In fact, the City of Boston was awarded a very thoughtful and generous mitigation plan fashioned by the Gaming Commission after the City repeatedly refused to participate in a process in which it could have negotiated directly for all of the citizens of Boston, including Charlestown. That package includes $25 million in community mitigation and up to $55 million in Sullivan Square mitigation and improvements.”
Wynn officials also said there issue of a Charlestown vote has been decided by the MGC numerous times and is before a court right now.
“As for the idea of a Charlestown vote, the Gaming Commission has decided this issue on multiple occasions and it is currently before a court,” said Weaver. “We have scrupulously followed the gaming law supported by Mayor Walsh as a legislator.”