The City of Somerville has filed a new legal claim in an ongoing campaign to derail a $1.7 billion Wynn Resorts casino planned for Everett, drawing a blistering response from the casino company.
In an unusually personal attack, Wynn Resorts denounced the city’s legal challenge as a “selfish, blatant attempt” by Somerville’s mayor, Joseph Curtatone, to politicize the casino issue for his own benefit.
“We find it necessary to call out this selfish politician, when so many jobs and real benefits are at risk,” the company said.
Curtatone has been an unwavering opponent of Wynn Resorts’ planned 24-story casino and hotel complex on the banks of the Mystic River, a short distance from Somerville. Somerville sued the state’s gaming commission over its decision to award a casino license to Wynn and later asked a judge to overturn a key environmental approval from the Baker administration.
In a 16-page claim filed Thursday, Curtatone and city attorneys challenged the legal validity of a separate environmental permit granted for the casino, citing state regulations that restrict the type of permitted waterfront developments.
“We’re fighting to address the serious and real consequences this casino will have on the people of Somerville,” Curtatone said Friday. “The public is not being protected from the adverse impacts of this project.”
In the claim, Curtatone said the casino project is too large and would draw too much traffic into the waterfront area to qualify for the environmental permit.
“The height and the massing of the project is extraordinary, if not unprecedented,” the lawsuit states.
He also contends that the exhaust from thousands of automobiles headed to the casino each day would harm the health of residents who live nearby.
The claim was filed with the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which granted the permit last month. The city demanded an administrative hearing to challenge the decision.
A spokesman for the environmental affairs office said in a statement that the agency will review the appeal and “bring the parties together to adjudicate the issues raised.”
Like Curtatone, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh attempted to block the Wynn casino on environmental grounds, but last month Walsh came to an agreement with Wynn to drop further legal challenges.
Somerville has maintained its opposition, a stance Wynn Resorts described as personally motivated.
“The Mayor demonstrates his disrespect for the exhaustive work done by many state agencies in issuing this permit by filing an appeal to further his own personal political ambition,” the company said.
“If the Mayor has aspirations to run for higher office, perhaps he should try at least to learn to have more respect for the law that the legislature passed and a project that would bring to the Commonwealth an investment exceeding $1.7 million, along with thousands of jobs.”