I’m no expert on the nitty-gritty details of the casino law. But it seems to me that the question whether Suffolk Downs, having lost a host-community vote in East Boston, should be allowed to substantially reconfigure its proposal such that it sits only in Revere, cut a new deal with Revere, and then proceed, is a legally complicated one. For starters, it seems pretty obvious that the plan for which Revere voted is not the one that is now under consideration – for instance, as the Globe just reported, the agreement on which both East Boston and Revere voted states that “‘As planned, the project would be constructed within the municipal boundaries of the city of Boston and no new significant construction is currently proposed on the portion of the property located in the city’ of Revere.” Is the Revere vote really valid for an agreement in which all the construction is going to happen in Revere? Doesn’t seem obvious to me.
Here is Shirley Leung’s hilarious take on that question:
The commission has to decide whether the yes vote is valid for a Revere-only project.
Suffolk Downs and Revere think so, as does former Massachusetts attorney general Tom Reilly, whom Suffolk has retained as counsel. “Everyone should respect the outcome of the elections,” said Reilly. “Revere welcomed it, and East Boston chose not to. It’s their right. It’s a very viable option.”
Enough said. He is the former AG, after all.
Well, gosh! A lawyer hired by one of the parties takes a position that favors the interest of that party! I guess that’s the end of the matter, then – no need for any independent analysis of the question, or consideration of what the law actually says, or anything like that.
The Globe should be embarrassed to publish something like that. There may be good arguments for why a Revere-only casino should be permitted without Suffolk Downs having to start the process over, but the say-so of someone on Suffolk Downs’ payroll is surely not among them.
UPDATE: First, thanks to Shirley Leung for engaging directly on Twitter. But, second, I am constrained to point out that one of her responses to my post makes little sense. When I questioned whether it really made sense to treat Tom Reilly’s opinion on the Revere question as the final word, given that he’s working for Suffolk Downs, Leung asked:
Did u ever think the enough said line was a little sarcasm?
Hmm. I mean, yes, it did occur to me that treating an ex-Attorney General’s legal opinion as gospel simply because he used to be AG was a bit strange. But I’m afraid the “sarcasm” dog won’t hunt. One definition of “sarcasm”, which seems about right, is “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.” In this context, that would mean ironically noting Reilly’s ex-AG status as though it settled the question, when it obviously didn’t, and perhaps to convey the notion that one should pay a lot more attention to who is paying Reilly’s bills now than what office he held a decade ago in evaluating his legal conclusion on this matter. Indeed, one arguing that Suffolk Downs should not be allowed to shift the casino into Revere without a new vote might “sarcastically” refer to the fact that Reilly is the ex-AG when discussing his position.
But is Leung really trying to “mock” or “convey contempt” for Reilly’s opinion? To the contrary, she clearly believes that Reilly is right, and that the Gaming Commission should follow his advice. Here, after all, is her conclusion:
Many questions remain about Suffolk Downs’ casino proposal, but one of them should not be whether it can be built in Revere. The commission needs to get on the right side of the track on this one.
It’s hard to be sarcastic about something that you actually think is correct. I don’t know what Leung thought she was doing with her “enough said” line. But sarcasm? No, that wasn’t it.