Revere is likely to never see any official fruits of the casino project in Everett, with no Surrounding Community status or agreement due to a clause in the City’s Host Community Agreement (HCA) that waived its status on the Everett project.
The same term was included in the Boston agreement, and now both municipalities find themselves the surrounding communities that are not surrounding communities.
Mayor Dan Rizzo said hindsight is 20/20 and the stipulation, which was in both the first Caesar’s/Suffolk Downs agreement and the Mohegan Sun agreement, was meant to show loyalty and was a piece of leverage used to get more mitigation money.
“We didn’t do that to be spiteful; we did it for leverage,” Rizzo told the Council on Monday night. “They’re largest construction hard costs were $1 billion and ours were half a billion dollars and so we did a lot of back and forth in negotiations. We felt as though at the time that to get a better HCA, that had to be in there. We negotiated for jobs and for business investment too…We felt that was a minor concession and if you look at some of [Wynn’s] surrounding community agreements, I don’t know if they would have even considered us a surrounding community…If I had known this was going to be the outcome, I could have negotiated lesser of an HCA and we don’t waive the right to an SCA and maybe we get the $300,000 like Chelsea did.”
Chelsea went to arbitration with Wynn earlier this year and actually ended up getting $600,000 per year in mitigation and $300,000 in one-time traffic payments, though that was still a far cry from the $2.5 million per year offered by Mohegan Sun.
Rizzo said it was the term, which called for them not to negotiate with any other applicant, was something that was insisted upon by both casino applicants.
“It’s all give and take; we want this and you give us that,” Rizzo said. “From the standpoint of Suffolk – and ultimately Mohegan Sun – they said if you want the best numbers, we want you to waive your right to an SCA. That term being in there they insisted upon as Suffolk did…We viewed it as a minor thing and I guess they wanted the City to show its loyalty for the project. It wasn’t a difficult concession.”
The Wynn project had no such stipulation, and thus Everett was able to negotiate an SCA with Mohegan Sun.
Mayor Rizzo said there is a mitigation fund that the MGC has established to address unforeseen consequences of any casino project. That fund can be accessed by anyone who can prove that they are suffering a negative consequence due to the casino.
“We can apply for that money if we find these impacts,” he said. “We can tap into that pool of money if we can prove there are impacts on us. All is not completely lost and we feel we can access that fund.”