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Wynn casino caught up in governor’s race and #MeToo

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Wynn casino caught up in governor’s race and #MeToo

Minus #MeToo, it’s a safe bet Steve Wynn would be basking in the glory of next June’s grand opening ceremonies for the hotel and gambling palace he personally shepherded to Everett.

But because of allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him, Wynn won’t be celebrating on the banks of the Mystic River. He resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts, and his name was purged from the project, now rechristened “Encore Boston Harbor.” Whether that’s enough to save the casino license for the company he founded is still unknown — and now tied up in a governor’s race and the national #MeToo movement.

For months, investigators for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission have been looking into who at Wynn Resorts knew what about Wynn’s alleged misdeeds. How and when to handle their findings, which originally had been expected by summer’s end, is now mixed up in the sudden resignation of Steve Crosby as chairman of the five-member commission.

The commission picked Gayle Cameron, one of the four remaining members, to serve as interim chair, pending a formal designation from Governor Charlie Baker, who is running for reelection. Asked through a spokesman about the timetable for a replacement for Crosby, the Baker administration left that question unanswered.

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Jay Gonzalez, the Democrat running against Baker, said “the sooner the governor can appoint” a new commissioner, “the better.” He believes Baker is dragging his feet on that, and also failing to lead on the #MeToo front.

Despite Wynn’s problems, casino still rises in Everett Local enthusiasm for casinos says more about the challenge of spreading Boston’s boom than the instrinsic allure of gambling.

When the Wynn allegations first surfaced, Gonzalez quickly said the casino license for Wynn Resorts should be revoked. At a meeting Wednesday with the Globe editorial board, Gonzalez doubled down on that position and tied the Wynn licensing controversy to the debate over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Wynn’s conduct, said Gonzalez, “was criminal.” And unless the Gaming Commission “finds that not to be true, then the company knew about it . . . and they did nothing to stop it,” he added. Connecting it to the current national drama involving allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, Gonzalez said such conduct is “a sickness in our culture that we have tolerated too long.” Circling back to Wynn, he said that Wynn Resorts “enabled it” and that “we need to say it’s not OK. The license should be revoked.”

When the Wynn allegations broke, Baker said he was “deeply disturbed” by them. He called upon the Republican Governors Association — which was a major funding source for him in his 2010 and 2014 campaigns — to return contributions it received over the last three years from Wynn and Wynn Resorts. In interviews at the time, Baker also said he found the allegations against Wynn “appalling” and “disgraceful.”

He also said he was leaving the Wynn Resorts license-suitability question to the Gaming Commission. And that’s where his team left it Wednesday, with his press office issuing the usual blah-blah-blah: “Governor Baker believes the Commission must continue its important task of reviewing the Wynn company’s suitability, specifically the very troubling allegations made and the actions of the company since they came to light.”

It helps Baker that the commission is supposed to be independent. Saying he thinks the license should be revoked would look like he’s trying to influence a decision against Wynn Resorts. He probably doesn’t want to do that, especially since the project was guided through the licensing process by former governor Bill Weld, and Stephen Tocco, who worked with Baker in the Weld administration.

At the same time, Baker doesn’t want to look like he’s insensitive to #MeToo. As usual, he is walking that cautious Charlie line. He’s running down the clock to an election he expects to win. That’s when it’s safe to bet Wynn Resorts will keep its license.

If that happens, Baker, not Wynn, will be there to celebrate.

Joan Vennochi can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Follow her on Twitter @Joan_Vennochi.

Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHe6BhTrjJZY324PjuV2DvzVJPtkg&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52780056361890&ei=RJC1W8iOHcnchAHY2IKQDQ&url=https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/10/03/wynn-casino-caught-governor-race-and-metoo/B5K6o0mSBBo2M7tLs3ZvcK/story.html

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