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Alleged secret negotiations over casino have citizens, officials riled

September 10, 2013

A city councilor in Boston recently charged officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority subway system and the city of Everett, part of the Boston metro area, with holding private negotiations to secure a casino deal while blocking Boston itself from having "host community" status.

According to the Boston Herald, the MBTA has been attempting to sell land to Wynn Resorts, the owner of the proposed casino, without taking proper channels for transparency and open government. MBTA and city law states that any sale of land owned by the MBTA "is subject to public advertisement and award to the highest bidder," requiring the MBTA to open the sale up to other bidders.

"Wynn's efforts to alter the proposed entrance and otherwise seek to avoid work in Boston, made possible only with the MBTA and MassDOT's cooperation, seems awkward, unnecessary, and primarily an attempt to evade work in Boston," City Councilor Sal LaMattina wrote in a letter to MassDot Secretary Richard Davey and other state and city officials.

Even in matters of land sale and public services, open and transparent government efforts are of the utmost importance. By keeping the public aware of negotiations and discussions, officials can ensure respect and trust, as well as more positive efforts that require public approval in the future.