Rollins Speaks at Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Suffolk County District Attorney announces community meeting in Chelsea on June 19

Rachael Rollins, the dynamic district attorney who became the first female elected to the esteemed Suffolk County position last November, was the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Wednesday at the Holiday Inn/Boston Logan Airport Chelsea.

Rollins proved to be as dynamic a speaker as she is a public official.

“The people that are most impacted negatively by the criminal justice system – it has nothing to do with race and almost everything to do with poverty,” Rollins told the luncheon audience. “If you can’t afford somebody who can navigate fluently through the criminal justice system – you are at a significant disadvantage.

“I don’t care what hue your skin is – if you have no money, the system does not work well for you, period, end of story,” said Rollins.

In well-received remarks, Rollins spoke about the DA’s mission as the chief law enforcement office of Suffolk County. She addressed serious issues such as the opioid crisis. She talked about the marijuana industry and law enforcement’s efforts in the field since recreational marijuana became legal in the state.

Chamber President Joseph Mahoney noted Rollins’ achievements as a Division 1 college athlete at UMass/Amherst. While at UMass, she challenged school leaders to increase the number of athletic scholarships given to female students.

Rollins also used the forum to make a major announcement: she will hold a community meeting on June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Chelsea Senior Center.

It is the second such quarterly meeting in the county following the inaugural session in Roxbury. It will be in the style of a state of the union/state of the city, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Chelsea Police Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez praised Rollins’ initiative to host a community meeting in the city.

“A community meeting on a regular basis is a great idea,” said Robinson, an early supporter of Rollins in her campaign for office. “It follows through on her pledge to be accessible and accountable to our residents. I expect to see a tremendous turnout of people welcoming her to Chelsea on June 19 and learning about the important role the DA’s Office has in our lives.”

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes was a guest at the luncheon while Roca Assistant Director Jason Owens, who provided an overview of Roca’s efforts during brief remarks, led a delegation from the agency.

Rollins called on Kyes to elaborate on the challenges facing police officers in regard to the new marijuana laws.

“We have individuals in the state, police officers in the state who are known as drug recognition experts (DREs),” said Kyes. “There are only about 200 DREs out of 17,000 police officers, including the State Police. At the end of the day, when an officer sees somebody and they’re unsteady on their feet, bloodshot eyes – they could potentially get probable cause to make an arrest, but then without that DRE to do an added evaluation, when it goes to court, these individuals aren’t getting convicted.

“Right now, some judges will allow the testimony pf a DRE and some will not,” concluded Kyes.

Rollins’ remarks were videotaped by Chelsea Community Cable Television. Executive Director Robert Bradley said the luncheon will begin airing on the cable television station.

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New Chelsea Stadium Pegged to Be Completed by End of May

The new Chelsea Stadium is only a few weeks from being completed and put into use, school officials said this week.

The new track will be named after late teacher/track coach Bernard Berenson, who is in the state Coaches Hall of Fame.

Facilities Director Joe Cooney said the rainy weather has slowed down the surfacing of the track, but that most everything else in the long-awaited Stadium project is completed.

“We’re getting very close,” he said. “When it’s done, it’s going to look dynamite.”

The football field is completely done, he said, but the track has been tricky.

An overview of the new football field looks spectacular but getting the track down has been tricky in the recent rainy weather. The project began last summer and will be completed at the end of May.

Already there has been a base coat of asphalt put down, but the rubberized surface on the track cannot be placed down in the rain – which pretty much means it has been delayed for quite some due to the deluge that has been seen lately.

He said there are two layers of rubberized surface, and that when it is done, it will be a very fast track for the runners.

The only other things outstanding are the conduits for the lights, permanent bathrooms, and bleacher improvements.

He said they have to complete the project by early May because graduation is taking place on the new field on June 9.

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FBISpecial Agent in Charge Bonavolonta Wows the Audience at JGBC Breakfast

He had his audience totally engaged on every word, his knowledge so overwhelming, his delivery so confident and precise.

Breakfast Chair Mark Robinson, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kevin White, FBI Special Agent In Charge Joseph Bonavolonta, and Jordan Girls and Boys Club Executive Director Gina Centrella.

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office, was the guest speaker at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club Breakfast Series Tuesday and his remarks were so captivating that he received two other guest speaking invitations before he left the hall.

“It’s been an incredibly interestingly and enlightening morning – that was great,” said Breakfast Chair Mark Robinson at the conclusion of Bonavolonta’s remarks.

Bonavolonta took the guests on an up-close look at the vital work that the United States’ principal law enforcement agency does around the clock and how it affects people not only in this nation but around the world.

He began by illuminating “about the types of threats we’re facing in our AOR (Area of Responsibility),” which is the four-state region of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

He divided the subject matter between the categories of national security threats and criminal threats.

“I’ll start with pure national security, that’s really where we’re focusing on our counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence threats, two of the absolute top threats, not only here in our area, but also nationally,” said Bonavolonta.

He said the FBI is focusing on two types of counter-terrorism, international terrorism and domestic terrorism.

“International terrorism is where you have your historical terrorism threats, really pre-and-post 911: Al Qaeda and ISIS, They still are persistent. They still are significant threats for us, but the threat landscape in terrorism has really changed every year since September 11, 2001,” he said.

Bonavolonta noted that the primary threat here is Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE). “What I mean by that, simply, are individuals who have been self-radicalized primarily over the Internet – it could be by other means as well. They go out and commit significant acts of violence against what we would call or they call to be soft targets: schools, shopping malls, any areas where there are public gatherings where you can potentially inflict mass casualties with the lowest amount of risk or immediate interaction with law enforcement.

“It’s something that concerns us every day,” said Bonavolonta.

He said the agency has to take each threat seriously and be very quick to react. “We’ve had cases right in our own area where we’ve had individuals that have one day woken up and they’re in that radicalization process and they’ve decided that today’s the day they’re going to go out and they’re going to attack or kill members of law enforcement or other individuals.

“These are threats that have to be acted on immediately and we have to ready to mobilize and cut them off before they commit these acts of violence,” he said.

Bonavolonta defined domestic terrorism “as individuals who are associated with or inspired by US-based movements that are promoting ‘violent extremist ideologies.”

He said what makes domestic terrorism a complex issue is “the fact that a lot of what we see in that realm potentials butts right up against First Amendment freedom of speech issues.

“That’s something that we really have to be incredibly careful when we’re looking at it. It’s a very, very high threshold for us to predicate a case where we’re charging acts related to domestic terrorism.

“In a lot of cases, these issues start with individuals that are spewing certain types of speech that are protected under First Amendment activities,” Bonovalonta clarified.

During the question-and-answer session that followed, Bonavolonta was asked about FBI resources, hiring and personnel.

He said the FBI is always looking for “cyber-talented people with a true background in cyber skills.”

“And nationally we are making a significant push for much more aggressive recruitment – we are aggressively recruiting people with skills in the STEM field,” said Bonavalonta. “We are placing a specific emphasis on recruiting females into the agent cadre as well. We need to make sure that from a diversity perspective that our agent cadre, as much as it can, mirrors overall society. And just within the last three or four years, there has been a very definitive effort to proactively put on female law enforcement symposiums.”

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CHS Concert Band, Cantare Win Big at Music in the Parks Festival

The Chelsea High Concert Band and Cantare Choir gave yet another reason why it should be considered the best urban – or suburban – music program in the state, taking home numerous awards at last weekend’s Music in the Parks Festival.

The Festival took place at the Westfield South Middle School and Westfield High School, and typically ends with an awards ceremony and fun day at Six Flags New England. However, due to the inclement weather, the Chelsea musicians had to be content with simply taking home some of the top prizes in the state.

Cantare Director Pete Pappavaselio and Concert Band Director Shannon Sullivan reported that both groups did outstanding at the Festival.

The CHS Percussion Ensemble took first place and received the highest adjudicated score of all of the ensembles present that day, with a score of 98 (out of 100) and a rating of Superior.

The CHS Band received a rating of Excellent and placed fourth overall.

The CHS Cantare received also received a rating of Excellent and came in third place, and the CHS Choir received a rating of Superior and came in second place. Additionally, Dimas Villanueva was recognized as the Best Student Accompanist of the competing ensembles and received an award for his guitar playing on “California Dreamin'” and “Blackbird.”

The CHS Band’s next performance will be on Memorial Day at City Hall, at a ceremony which begins at 9 a.m. All of these ensembles will be performing at Arts Night Out, which is the combined year-end event with the Visual Arts Department. That celebration is on Fri., May 31, with the art gallery opening at 6 p.m., and the concert beginning at 7 p.m. Viewing the art gallery is free, and tickets to the concert are $4.

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An Elite College Athlete, DA Rollins Got a Taste of the Law and Never Turned Back

New Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins has quickly come to be known as an agent of change, a passionate advocate for equity in the law and a solid leader ready to stand up for a cause – but few know that before all that she was an elite Division 1 college athlete, and it was on the playing field where she first gained her love and respect for the law.

Rollins grew up in a large family in Cambridge, and sports were part of her family from the beginning, long before she ever thought of the legal system.

Rollins said she was a team captain of every sport she played going back to youth soccer, and an All-Scholastic in basketball at Buckingham, Brown & Nichols School (BB&N), but it was on the lacrosse field where she was the most outstanding. The sport – which was somewhat newer to New England in the 1980s when she was in high school – was fast moving and, having been recruited to play after a basketball practice, Rollins had a great skill set to be a high achiever.

“I was the oldest of five siblings and my parents worked very hard to make sure we got a great education,” she said. “I got into BB&N after the third grade, but at one point my parents sat me down and told me I was a good athlete and a good student and needed to get a scholarship if I wanted to go to college.”

Her skills led her to a full Division 1 Scholarship to UMass-Amherst for lacrosse, this coming after winning a national championship on the high school level in 1989. After an outstanding freshman year, Rollins and her teammates were shocked to learn that their sport was being eliminated by the university due to budget cuts.

Though she was able to keep her scholarship, she said she eventually missed the athletic fields, and that’s when she and some other women athletes turned to the law – which she found to be a powerful leveler for those without much of a voice.

“At first, I was kind of relieved because I didn’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. for conditioning anymore, but later I began to miss sports,” she said. “I’d played sports my entire life and missed the camaraderie you feel when you have the team behind you and you score a goal.

“We only had three or four scholarship players and we were good,” she continued. “The men’s football team hadn’t won a game in years and they had 75 full-time scholarships with everything provided for them, including food and lodging. I didn’t know a lawyer or a judge, but it seemed so unfair. Myself ,and a few other athletes from the women’s teams, asked to meet with the Athletic Director.”

That meeting didn’t go so well, and there was no change, but DA Rollins said everything changed when they got a lawyer.

“Our lawyer threatened a Title 9 lawsuit,” she said. “The AD completely changed his tune. We got all or our teams re-instituted after a while.”

Rollins – who attended Northeastern University Law School after UMass – said it was her first taste at how the law can be used to empower and bring about justice.

And it was a powerful experience.

“I saw that lawyers matter and words matter,” she said. “As a young person, I thought, ‘Oh my God, lawyers are awesome.’ They make everyone fall into line and things change.”

It was the defining moment she points to after a long legal career with MassPort, the MBTA, and now as the Suffolk District Attorney, where the law became her passion.

However, when it came to leadership – another characteristic she said has been critical as the newly-elected DA in an office that has had the same leader for almost two decades – it was what happened after the teams were re-instated that taught her the most.

She said when the team was finally brought back, she was the only player left with any real experience. Most of the players and coaches had been plucked from other sports like track and volleyball. The elite athlete soon found herself the captain of a team that couldn’t win a game to save themselves.

Yet, she said it was the most important time of her life, leading a team that likely wasn’t going to win, but could still accomplish some goals in the meantime.

“It was one of the best learning experiences I ever had,” she said. “You show up with a smile on your face and give 100 percent even when things aren’t going well. It taught me character…Anyone can be present when things are going great, but where are you when things get hard? Do you still show up? I like to say it costs very little to pay someone a compliment or be respectful. Yet so few do it.”

That kind of optimism for a competitive person in the midst of a losing season was life changing.

“What’s beautiful is to learn not to be discouraged and to be optimistic,” she said. “Those are actually the years I broke records because the numbers of goals I scored. There are still records out there 26 or 27 years later that I set and I’m proud to say I still hold.”

Certainly, the end of her athletic career did not mean an end to those valuable lessons. In fact, she said, it has been sports that taught her about justice and leadership.

“We are breaking down barriers,” she said. “When you see a woman in leadership roles, it happens quite often that in the past that woman had some athletic ability or played some sport. It teaches us about inclusion or teamwork or perseverance. Sports doesn’t care about how much money you have or where you live, it’s about how well you perform on the field. It’s a great leveler. It’s been invaluable for me.”

And in the office, she is adjusting to being that new person who is also the leader of the office. That, she said, takes the kind of skills she honed on the athletic fields some years ago.

“I’m the new person to the team here in the DA’s office and I’m also their leader,” she said. “Change is difficult. What I try to do is show up, know the great work they do and be as encouraging and purposeful as I can.”

Nowadays, Rollins doesn’t spend much time on the playing field, but still enjoys watching her daughter run track, where she has won national championships in the 100m and 200m races. Such things are encouraging, she said, to see girls and young women have so many opportunities that were hard-fought by the generation ahead of them – a generation such as the women athletes like Rollins who used the legal system to challenge decision makers.

“It’s really exciting to see young women are getting the same opportunities men have had a long time,” she said. “Being excited for my young girls playing sports doesn’t take away from my excitement for young men playing sports. We want everyone to have the opportunity for success, on and off the field.”

DA Rollins indicates her office will be more present at crime scenes

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said one change she has made immediately to the office is making sure at major crime scenes, she and members of her office are on scene.

That includes homicides and other such crimes.

Whether in Boston, Chelsea, Revere or Winthrop, she said it is important to be present at the scene, even if it’s the middle of the night.

She said she has instructed everyone to call her no matter what time, and not to wait for the morning to brief her on major crimes.

“For me, it’s important to kind of be proximate and present when things happen so people know we not only handle the case, but also we had boots on the ground from the beginning. A lot of the work we do is behind the scenes and people don’t see it…So, it’s important they see us and we experience what they are dealing with because it really makes us have insight into the work we do every single day.”

She said that, particularly at homicides, she and her office would make every effort to be on scene throughout the county.

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Bunker Hill CC Changes Mascot

After more than a year of research, reflection and evaluation, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) has revealed a newly designed bulldog mascot to represent the College’s Athletics program. The new BHCC Athletics Bulldog was revealed at the College Faculty/Staff Forum on March 12.

The refreshed mascot design features a running bulldog, energetic and with its eyes focused forward, seeking success in a manner congruent with the program’s mission and consistent with the uniqueness of BHCC.

The bulldog has long been the mascot of BHCC Athletics. New Director of Athletics Dr. Loreto Jackson, who joined the College in 2017, felt that the mascot needed a refresh to better align with the College’s purpose and values. “The former bulldog had many different renditions,” explained Dr. Jackson. “The designs were not unique to BHCC, and, more importantly, did not embody the philosophy of BHCC.”

The College enlisted national brand identity firm Phoenix Design Works to assist with the mascot development. After research and discussion with department stakeholders, Jackson wanted to remove the common ideas of bulldogs—that they are mean-spirited, arrogant, combative or lazy. Instead, the BHCC Bulldog should portray respect, tenacity, a competitive spirit and loyalty. Also important was a gender-neutral mascot, unrestrained by the classic bulldog spiked collar. Bunker Hill Community College is a member of the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA), Division III. For more information on BHCC Athletics, please visit bhcc.edu/athletics.

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Summer Youth Job Lottery Takes Place at City Hall

City Manager Tom Ambrosino and members of the Chelsea Collaborative held a lottery on April 4 to pick the names of scores of young residents who will secure a summer youth employment job.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino picks names for the summer jobs lottery.

Director Gladys Vega said that while it was a time to celebrate the employment of more than 100 youth in the community, the need was far greater than the jobs.

“This year we received more than 300 applications, with more that came after the deadline,” she said. “Due to our funding, we are able to offer only 150 spots this year. We are excited to pair youth with more than 40 of our longstanding partners, including City of Chelsea, Chelsea Police, Intergenerational Literacy Program, Jordan Boys & Girls Club, North Suffolk Mental Health and others.”

At the lottery, 185 names in several different age groups were selected.

Some were put on a waiting list, and a vast majority of those applying were of a younger age.

Youth that were picked in the lottery are now going through several interviews this week, during School Spring Break. If they successfully pass those interviews, they will meet their employers in June and receive more training.

The Summer Youth Employment Initiative (SYEI) begins on July 1.

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New Broadway Sign and Design Guidelines Head to City Council for Review

New Broadway Sign and Design Guidelines Head to City Council for Review

Dr. Deborah Wayne’s optometry shop has been on Broadway in one way or another since 1936, but in 2019 she’s hoping that new City guidelines and a store improvement program will help her shop – and others around it – catapult into the new century.

“You want to see quality businesses and you want them to look like quality businesses,” she said. “I think it’s a fabulous idea. It’s an old storefront. I have a storefront that doesn’t have any grates. We’ve been operating in one location or another on Broadway since 1936 and we’ve never had a grate. I’d do anything to get the grates off the businesses on Broadway. I think they’re ugly. I’m hoping that these regulations go through so I can take advantage of the program. I don’t want to take action and build something that isn’t in compliance. I’m ready to rip the front off my store. I can’t wait.”

She shares the enthusiasm of most of the business community on Broadway, who wholeheartedly support a set of design guidelines for the corridor, as well as a storefront improvement assistance program.

Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney has proposed the regulations this spring to the Planning Board, and had a hearing on April 1. They will have a stop at the City Council again with a ruling promised in May.

“The goal is to be attractive and be maintained and lit well,” she said. “It’s also transparency of the windows. We’re telling folks not to have the big frosted glass and we would like the business to take down the big metal grates. In a lot of cases, they aren’t necessary because it can done other ways. We can meet the goal of safety and meet the goal of feeling safe and having an attractive façade.”

One of the problems, she said, is that the regulations for signage and façade improvements are woefully outdated – in some cases not allowing simple things like a blade sign. A blade sign is a suspended sign that faces those walking on the sidewalk. Because of the outdated regulations, she said, many store owners are hesitant to make upgrades that could be a code violation.

“The downtown has always been a bunch of things, but the rules never changed so it means the businesses can’t update or maintain their facades,” she added.

Alberto Calvo of Stop & Compare Supermarket said they improved their façade and sign a few years ago, and it made a huge difference. He’s excited to see that happen throughout the business district.

“We’re absolutely excited to see movement toward the revamping of sign ordinances,” offered Calvo, also executive vice president of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. “A few years ago, we at Stop & Compare in Chelsea invested significantly to improve our building’s façade and to install updated, modern signage. It has made a marked, positive difference in our foot traffic and sales at that location, and I very much want to see other businesses in the Downtown corridor benefit from these kinds of improvements.”

Chelsea Chamber President Joseph W. Mahoney added, “We do get member businesses, and non-members, too, asking whether there are programs to assist business owners to fund signage and façade improvements. For façades, we know that there is a small program to be made available, but the roll-out of the façade program has been at least a couple of years in the making. Our understanding is that there may also be a cost-sharing program for signage as well. The new signage ordinances still need to be passed by the City Council, so we’ve been telling businesses to sit tight, but be ready. We’ve been saying the same thing to our member and non-member businesses in the signage business. We suggested to Craig Murphy, owner of our member Cambridge Reprographics, start talking to people now.”

“I think businesses are most excited about the potential return of blade signs,” Mahoney elaborated, “those that are perpendicular to the building.” Newburyport’s shopping district is full of those signs.

When one drives down its streets, one can see the businesses’ signs before accidentally passing them. Pedestrians also can spot their destination from a half-block away.

•Another piece of the regulations addresses outdoor or sidewalk dining – which was pioneered by the Ciao! Market on Broadway two summers ago. It was a success, by most accounts, and Graney said they would like to encourage others to try it.

First, however, they wanted to put some standards in place.

The regulations would only allow such dining on sidewalks and they would have to be immediately in front of the business. The furniture would have to be matching and of a high quality. There would have to be a safety plan, and businesses would be responsible for the area. No alcohol service would be allowed for the time being.

Seasonal heaters for outdoor dining are also being considered.

“Realistically, there’s not a lot of space,” she said. “Downtown, where this works, it’s two or three tables or six people. It’s similar to what Ciao! Did on their pilot.”

Addressing the proposed sidewalk dining ordinance, Chamber Executive Director Rich Cuthie was slightly more cautious.

“Edson and Marvin from Ciao Pizza definitely have been the market movers on this and need to be applauded,” he said. “They put in the work and time with the City to test it out. But let’s say it’s a nice summer evening and you and I wanted to have a beer and split a plate of nachos al fresco at a local restaurant on Broadway; maybe an after work meeting or just something social. We sit down at the table and chairs on the sidewalk and then are told, ‘No, sorry. No alcohol is allowed outside.’ Like many people, we’re just going to get up, apologize, and either go to the inside of that restaurant, or another restaurant, or worse, decide to move our meeting or dinner to another town.”

Cuthie said there is no compelling argument for a business owner to make the investment in tables, chairs, and staffing while also having to insure against additional outdoor liabilities if the potential revenues to offset those costs are not there.

“No mistake,” Cuthie continued, “we’re happy and appreciative that the City is moving to try to formally create a path to outdoor dining, but without beer, wine, and cocktails—which by the way are a restaurant’s highest margin offerings and offset food costs, we’re missing the mark and I have to reserve judgment on the initiative’s ultimate success. I don’t want Chelsea to always be 10 years behind other communities. We need proper updating now so that people will say, ‘It’s a beautiful evening, let’s have some margaritas and good Latin food in Chelsea tonight. We’ll decide where we want to eat when we get there, because there are so many outdoor dining choices.’”

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Investigators Found a Culture of Secrecy, Failure to Follow Policies for Steve Wynn Complaints

Investigators Found a Culture of Secrecy, Failure to Follow Policies for Steve Wynn Complaints

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) unveiled its long-anticipated investigation of Wynn Resorts and Encore Boston Harbor and reported they found a company culture that did not follow policies when allegations were made against former CEO Steve Wynn, and also used extreme secrecy to hide allegations and settlements involving him in several cases.

That, however, was tempered also by a laundry list of changes that the company has made in the last 14 months, including ousting Steve Wynn and implementing a robust corporate governance structure.

“However,” said Karen Wells, MGC Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) director, “the past cannot be erased by these changes.”

That set the tone for the unveiling of what had been found over the last year by the IEB using thousands of pages of information, conducting hundreds of witness interviews, and traveling to six states to produce the report. That report had been held up with a lawsuit from Steve Wynn last November asserting attorney-client privilege, but that suit was recently settled and that allowed the unveiling to go forward Tuesday morning.

“In evaluating the IEB investigation, it showed a pattern of certain employees, including the Legal Division, disregarding policies when it came to allegations against Mr. Wynn,” she said. “It showed they made great efforts at secrecy so that it made it difficult if not impossible for gaming regulators to uncover these incidents.”

Earlier, she also said, “The investigation actually revealed a culture in the company where employees hesitated to report sexual misconduct allegations against Mr. Wynn. We found the company failed to safeguard the well-being and safety of its employees.”

At the outset of the investigation unveiling, Loretta Lillios, of the IEB, said what happened at the company mattered. She bookended the impending report with the idea that a gaming license is a privilege and not a right – noting that companies have to always keep proper policies and conduct in place or risk losing the license.

It was a warning that all things were on the table, including the loss of Encore’s license.

“The IEB’s investigation revealed the company’s adherence to these criteria has been called into question,” she said. “What happened at the company matters. It matters to the women who have been directly affected by the allegations of sexual misconduct. It matters to the workforce and employees here. It matters to the Commission. It matters to the people of Massachusetts… After all the evidence and testimony is presented, you will have ample information to apply the law and make a sound determination.”

Wells detailed for most of her presentation the allegations against Steve Wynn, using a timeline to go through the allegations and the response to them. She started in 2005 with the settlement paid to a manicurist at Wynn Las Vegas who claimed she had been raped by Steve Wynn and was now pregnant as a result of two such encounters. That allegation was detailed in the original Wall Street Journal article in January 2018 that opened the entire sexual misconduct situation.

A main issue, Wells said, was to not decide whether the allegations were true, but whether the company responded correctly and whether it should have divulged information to the MGC in 2013.

“The Commission is not evaluating whether the allegations are true or false, but it is evaluating the company’s response to the allegations,” she said. “A key question for the Commission to consider is whether the company’s failure to divulge derogatory information may have a role in suitability or the suitability of a qualifier…We now know in 2013 at least three Massachusetts qualifiers had knowledge of these allegations. They were Steve Wynn, Elaine Wynn and Kim Sinatra…A key question for the Commission is whether this relevant information should have been divulged on the front end rather than us having to investigate this now.”

The IEB also indicated that they tried to interview Steve Wynn several times, and he declined. However, he did release a statement that was read by Wells to the Commission.

“I had multiple sexual relationships during my tenure at Wynn Resorts and made no attempt to document them,” the statement read. “I do not believe any of the specific details of these relationships are material to the issues I understand are being reviewed by the special committee. I recognize some of the names obtained in the witness questions, but have no memory of ever meeting or having relationships with the women whose names are in your questions. I deny having any relationship that was not consensual. During the time I was employed by Wynn I was aware of a code of conduct and other policies. I was not however familiar with the details of those policies.”

Many of the key questions in the investigation included information garnered during discovery in the case of Elaine Wynn vs. Steve Wynn, as well as in a case known as the Okada case. Much of what was brought out in regard to the allegations and the response to them came from that case.

For Sinatra, who left the company in July 2018 with a multi-million dollar severance package, it became clear she knew of the allegations against Wynn during the 2013 suitability hearings. Yet, she did not divulge them, and the investigation seemed to suggest she wasn’t clear as to what she remembered knowing.

One such exchange involved an e-mail chain where a letter detailing a hostile working environment was described. That letter in that e-mail was up for dispute as to whether Sinatra read it, read all of it, or if she even really knew about it.

Much of her responses, according to the report, were that she didn’t recall a lot of information.

“I don’t recall if I knew in `14,” she had responded when asked if she knew the original 2005 case included a rape allegation of the manicurist.

Also in question was how the company responded after the Wall Street Journal article, including putting out an immediate statement of support letter for Steve Wynn to employees. That statement also included a reference to the article as being the latest strategy in Elaine Wynn’s legal case against the company.

Wells said that was put out before any investigation into the matter and without consideration to employees that may have been affected by Steve Wynn’s alleged behavior.

Wynn Communications Director Michael Weaver said he would not do that again if he were to do it over.

“Mr. Weaver stated to investigators that if he was to do it over again, he would do it differently,” Wells testified.

Maddox also told investigators that he simply believed Steve Wynn.

“As ridiculous as it looks now, we believed it,” Wells summarized. “We believed it. I know it’s tone deaf.”

The letter to employees went out with the input of Steve Wynn and others in the organization, but was under the signature of Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden – who indicated he was uncomfortable with the letter in his name but felt he had no choice in the matter.

That letter was followed up by what turned out to be an ill-advised Town Hall style employee meeting tour by Steve Wynn and other company officials. It had been reported in media accounts that employees at the Town Halls were asked to raise their hands if Steve Wynn had assaulted or abused them. That had not been confirmed before, but the IEB investigation revealed that Wynn Attorney Stacy Michaels told investigators that she was present and that did happen.

• • • •

The remainder of the first day of hearings focused on the new Board members and the new members of the corporate hierarchy.

The MGC listened to detailed presentations about each new Board member and each new employee. Each told the story of how they had been recruited – some by Matt Maddox – to serve on the Board in the aftermath of the crisis at the company.

All of them were being reviewed by the MGC for suitability, and if they were qualified to serve on the Board or work in their positions.

The testimony by Wynn attorneys was to begin on Wednesday, where they would present their case and ask questions regarding the IEB report.

• • • •

The MGC did remind everyone that there would be no vote at the end of the proceedings, nor would there be any sort of discussion of the report or testimony.

Instead, when all of the information had been gathered, the MGC would deliberate in private – with the option of asking for more or additional information.

At some point in the near future, they would issue their findings and their remedies – including the possibility of stripping the license – in a written report.

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Encore Boston Harbor to Open Upscale Steakhouse, Featuring World’s Most Exclusive

Encore Boston Harbor to Open Upscale Steakhouse, Featuring World’s Most Exclusive

Encore Boston Harbor has announced it will open an upscale steakhouse within its $2.6 billion resort, featuring waterfront views and the most unique steak program in New England.

‘Rare Steakhouse’ will also highlight exquisite and hard-to-find bourbon and scotch selections, as well as a thoughtful offering of local distilled spirits and craft beers. Encore Boston Harbor’s Wine Director Miklos Katona has expertly curated a wine list featuring vintages from world-renowned producers.

Under the careful supervision of Executive Chef Taylor Kearney, Rare Steakhouse will allow guests to experience authentic Japanese Wagyu, including Kobe from the Hyogo Prefecture, cut from 100 percent Tajima Cattle; Ideue from the Kagoshima Prefecture; and the uniquely distinctive Sanuki Olive Beef from the Seto Inland Sea. American Wagyu will be sourced from Snake River Farms in Idaho and several other cuts provided through an exclusive partnership with Pat LaFreida Meat Purveyors in New Jersey.

Rare Steakhouse will leverage a state-of-the-art, dry-aging process on-site.

“For more than 10 years, we have worked closely with international and domestic partners to develop the steak programs at our resorts in Las Vegas and Macau,” said Warren Richards, Executive Director of Food and Beverage. “These efforts today will result in the most unique steak program in New England. Rare Steakhouse will be the only certified end-user of authentic Kobe beef in New England. We are thrilled to provide guests with this exclusive dining experience at Encore Boston Harbor.”

The menu will also comprise market-driven ingredients, including locally farmed produce, dairy and day-boat caught seafood. Rare Steakhouse’s beverage program will feature sought-after varietals and vintages from around the world, complementing all selections.

Vicente Wolf, who led the initial iteration of SW Steakhouse in Wynn Las Vegas, designed Rare Steakhouse. Entering the restaurant, guests can expect a comfortable, well-lit bar and dining space, with indoor and outdoor patio seating, and intimate private dining options. Views of the Mystic River and Harborwalk span its perimeter.

Rare Steakhouse will be open seven days a week for dinner. It is one of 15 dining and lounge venues at Encore Boston Harbor, ranging from fine dining to casual fare. Previously announced restaurants include:

•Sinatra, the Forbes Travel Guide Award-winning Italian restaurant that is located in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

•Fratelli, a casual Italian restaurant created by North End entrepreneurs Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano.

•Mystique, an Asian-fusion restaurant and lounge with views of the Mystic River, developed by Big Night Entertainment Group. •Memoire, a glamorous nightclub overlooking the casino floor, also developed by Big Night Entertainment Group.

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