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Fate of Everett casino remains up in the air, but is it really?

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Fate of Everett casino remains up in the air, but is it really?

EVERETT

Done deal.

Walk through a 1,350 square-foot “Parlor Suite” hotel room in the Encore Boston Harbor and a winning hand for this $2.5 billion project feels inevitable. No one will stay for the view: a giant turbine and several smokestacks. But the king-size bed, gilt-edged furniture, and bathrooms lined with Greek marble tile offer up a luxurious haven on the otherwise unglamorous banks of the Mystic River here.

From the outside, the bronze building owned by Wynn Resorts looks nearly complete. A hard-hat tour on Wednesday shows construction feverishly underway at the venue, which will house bars, restaurants, retail shops, a ballroom and a grand lobby with two curving escalators that each cost $900,000.

And, of course, the showpiece will be a 200,000 square-foot casino floor. Red Murano crystal chandeliers hanging from the massive room’s high ceilings already give a taste of the five-star ambiance that Wynn Resorts is aiming for. Outside, about 1,000 handpicked trees are being planted.

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To open in June, as planned, the casino giant needs the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to find it still “suitable” to operate the resort, despite #MeToo allegations made last year against company founder Steve Wynn. Robert DiSalvio, president of Wynn MA, the licensee, said he has no information about the commission’s report on what other executives knew about the accusations against Wynn, who denies them.

Wynn casino caught up in governor’s race and #MeToo Place your bets: Will Wynn Resorts lose its casino?

During a meeting with the Globe editorial board last week, Governor Charlie Baker said he hasn’t seen the report, but what’s in it “matters a lot with respect to what happens next.”

Compare that studied caution with the breezy confidence of former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who as a lawyer at Mintz Levin generates many billable hours on behalf of his client, Wynn MA. On the matter of the license, “I think they’re likely to hold it. No one in Massachusetts had anything to do with the stuff that was going on out in Las Vegas,” said Weld, during a recent visit with the Globe editorial board, to which he squired Dan Fishman, the Libertarian candidate for state auditor.

Weld is listed as principal of ML Strategies — Mintz Levin’s lobbying arm — which so far in 2018, according to state records, was paid $136,000 by Wynn MA. Weld also said he would be “front and center” during upcoming hearings on the licensing issue. According to DiSalvio, the legal team for those proceedings has not yet been chosen, though he acknowledges the company has paid “millions” in legal fees to Mintz Levin because of challenges to the Everett casino.

Wynn Resorts also wants to show how different the company is today than when it was awarded the license in 2014 to do business in Massachusetts. To separate the casino business from the icky details of his alleged sexual misconduct, Wynn resigned as CEO and sold all of his shares in the company; the board underwent a major shake-up; and Kim Sinatra, the company’s general counsel, exited. “We certainly hope we have done everything we can to show we are a new company,” said DiSalvio.

As it mulls that question, the gaming commission is undergoing its own drama. In September, Steve Crosby resigned as commission chair because of what he called false claims of favoritism regarding how he conducted the commission’s business. Crosby has been accused of prejudging the outcome of the commission report by Wynn representatives and by Mohegan Sun, a rival casino company that sued the commission for awarding the license to Wynn.

Before that, Crosby was accused of tilting the casino licensing decision process, to the point that he ultimately recused himself from the vote.

But the accusations live on, most recently in a Boston magazine article entitled “How Massachusetts Went All in on Steve Wynn.” The story drew an unusually harsh rebuttal from the commission, but Boston magazine stood by it.

The message Baker said he took from Crosby’s resignation is that “his position would be both a distraction and a detriment” to the commission’s ability to convince the public of the integrity of their decision. But whatever that decision turns out to be, “My assumption here is . . . they’re going to get sued,” predicted Baker.

That seems like a safe bet. Based on what’s already in the ground, plus the millions spent to pave the way for this casino, another one might be that Wynn Resorts won’t be doing the suing, because it will retain the license to operate in Everett.

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.

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