(EAST BOSTON, MA - Oct. 19, 2013) - For more than a year, No Eastie Casino
has pushed the City of Boston and Suffolk Downs to share more information about
Suffolk Downs' proposed Caesars Entertainment Resort. After ignoring repeated
calls for greater transparency and concerns about Caesars' solvency raised by
East Boston residents, on Friday Suffolk Downs dropped the operations partner it
chose in 2011 to run a casino in East Boston, Caesars Entertainment, only after
state investigators informed them that Suffolk Downs likely would not pass the
background check if Caesars stayed on. The Boston Globe reported that a number
of concerns were brought to Suffolk Downs' attention, including Caesars' alleged
business ties to organized crime.
But East Boston casino opponents say the stunning news late Friday demonstrates
that residents cannot trust Suffolk Downs when it comes to whom they choose to
bring into the neighborhood, said No Eastie Casino co-chair Celeste Myers.
"As recently as two months ago, Suffolk Downs owner Joe O'Donnell stated that
Caesars was 'as professional as they come,'" Myers said, pointing out Suffolk
Downs' frequent assertion that it shares Caesars' values. "Clearly, they did not
do due diligence in vetting Caesars - a company with which they have had a
relationship since 2011 - and only ended the relationship when forced to do so."
She added that Suffolk Downs has now picked two corporations, Caesars and
Vornado Realty Trust, that have been unable or unwilling to pass background
checks. In March, Vornado put its 19 percent stake in the casino plan into a
blind trust after the majority of its executive team refused the state's
mandatory background checks. To our knowledge, Vornado has not divested
completely from the casino partnership and voters remain in the dark about who
will pick up its nearly one-fifth share in the project.
Caesars' sudden departure also raises serious questions about the value of the
City's and Suffolk Downs' host community agreement and shows that the promises
in the mitigation agreement were made to be broken. Many key elements of the
mitigation agreement-including key components of the jobs and small business
plans-were tied to Caesars' employee practices and Total Rewards programs.
(Download our 16-page mitigation analysis here)
No Eastie Casino leaders on Saturday formally called on Suffolk Downs to
withdraw its casino application, in light of the information that emerged late
Friday, and to share full details about their casino plans - including what they
knew about Caesars and when they knew it-with the community at large.
"Now, more than ever, our neighbors and voters are seeing the glaring problems
in the Suffolk Downs casino plans and the flaws in transparency that have
plagued this fight from the start," Myers said. "We hope Suffolk Downs and the
City of Boston do the right thing and withdraw their support of this project.
Until they do, our campaign will continue to reach out to and educate voters
until we are victorious on Nov. 5."