Casino in the Forefront: Negotiation Committee Appointment Imminent

The Town Council met with its attorneys from Kopelman and Paige for more than an hour at Tuesday’s meeting and there was some great back-and-forth discussion as Winthrop readies for the casino process and Suffolk Downs’ plans to build a $1 billion entertainment complex on their property in East Boston.

The town’s attorneys, Elizabeth Lane and Ilana Quirk, suggested that the town secure a document that legally affirms Winthrop’s status as a surrounding community relative to a casino being located at Suffolk Downs.

While we know that Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo worked diligently on behalf of our town’s interests to insure that the casino legislation puts Winthrop in the “surrounding” community category  and Suffolk COO Chip Tuttle spoke during a May 1 presentation before the Council about Winthrop’s status as a surrounding community along with Chelsea (Revere and East Boston are the host communities), if the town’s attorneys feel it’s necessary, then we’ll agree with their expertise. Attorneys Lane and Quirk certainly impressed observers with their thoroughness and knowledge of the potential relationship between Winthrop and Suffolk.

Next up, it appears that a committee will be formed to negotiate with Suffolk officials about a mitigation agreement. While all things casino are brand new to Massachusetts and Winthrop, it would seem that a three-member committee should be formed. One member, of course, would be Town Manager James McKenna; a second member would be a representative from Kopelman and Paige; and the third member would be a member of the Town Council and while that decision is forthcoming, it appears that Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers would be an excellent candidate for that key position. Powers would bring years of experience in public safety and being involved in contract negotiations. Plus, knowing Larry, he would devote countless hours to his position to insure that Winthrop realizes the maximum benefits it can from the casino project. Powers has been a terrific councilor since taking office and we would feel very good about having him represent our town on this important committee.

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