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Wynn Resorts Asked to Dial Down Massachusetts Casino Campaign Over the Holidays

By Chris Cassidy, Boston HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 21, 2011--A firm hired by Wynn Resorts has been dialing Foxboro residents -- during dinner and even Sunday's Patriots game -- with selling points for the proposed high-roller's palace by Gillette Stadium.

"The questions are asked to lead people with some hypothetical promises to see what's it going to take to influence someone's vote," said Foxboro Selectman Lorraine Brue, who has been fielding calls from irked residents. Town officials have asked both Wynn and Kraft to halt their marketing campaign over the holidays, she said.

Wynn Resorts acknowledged hiring a firm "to ascertain a baseline of what Foxboro residents are thinking."

The calls have tested out a variety of messages, asking callers if they'd be more or less likely to favor a casino if they knew tax revenue went to improve public schools or that a required police presence at the casino would decrease crime. Others stated that Steve Wynn would create a resort destination with "the character of Foxboro in mind" and that Massachusetts is losing jobs and revenue to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

Meanwhile, a red-faced Wynn executive apologized to Foxboro officials yesterday after the company accidentally invited the town manager and entire Board of Selectmen to join a private conference call with Wynn staffers, lobbyists and Kraft Group Vice President Dan Murphy -- a meeting that likely would have violated the state's Open Meeting Law.

"I would strongly urge that you have no further communication with the members of the Board of Selectmen except at a public meeting," Foxboro Town Manager Kevin Paicos shot back in an e-mail to the Wynn exec.

The company immediately withdrew the invitation, but it nonetheless "set off fireworks," as word spread across town yesterday, said Board of Selectmen Chairman Larry Harrington.

The invite was a "clerical error," said a Wynn spokeswoman.

In an unrelated casino development, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is eyeing a potential casino site in Bridgewater owned by Claremont Corporation at the intersection of Route 24 and Interstate 495, according to Town Council President Scott Pitta. The tribe approached the town in early fall and details are "very, very preliminary," Pitta said.


(c)2011 the Boston Herald

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