Town Is Heading Toward Arbitration on Casino Mitigation Funding

The Town of Winthrop will enter the arbitration process with Mohegan Sun Casino officials to determine the financial mitigation package that the town would receive relating to the impacts of the proposed $1 billion resort/casino at Suffolk Downs.

The town originally submitted a request for an annual payment of $5 million. Mohegan Sun/Suffolk Downs offered an annual payment of $745,000 to the town.

Town Council President Peter Gill said that attorney Bruce Tobey, who has been leading the town’s legal team in the negotiations, is filing papers for the arbitration process. Tobey is working with Town Manager on finishing the arbitration package and select the town’s arbitrator.

“Both sides file what’s called their final and best offer,” said Gill. “Each side chooses an arbitrator and then the two arbitrators choose a third arbitrator. The three arbitrators review the two sides’ materials and choose one offer or the other.”

Winthrop’s offer will not be known until Monday when the offers will be made public.

The three arbitrators will take approximately three weeks before making their decision. There is no middle ground: the arbitrators will select either Winthrop’s offer or Mohegan Sun’s offer.

Gill said he was “disappointed” that the town and Mohegan Sun officials were unable to come to a financial agreement.

“They were not a friendly group,” said Gill. “They’ve gone into arbitration with other communities, which says something. Mohegan Sun refused to recognize the negative impacts of this development on the town of Winthrop.”

Gill said he’s been pleased with the diligence of Tobey throughout the negotiations. “He’s very professional and very knowledgeable and I think he’s done a really good job.”

The proposed casino at Suffolk Downs on the Revere portion of the property has been a hot topic for months in the town. A public forum at the Cummings School with Mohegan and Suffolk officials drew a capacity crowd. Mohegan made an excellent presentation that highlighted the thousands of jobs that the casino will create,

Gill said the reaction to Winthrop’s decision to go to arbitration has been positive in his encounters with constituents.

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