Matt Maddox has been no stranger to the Everett casino, and above anyone else, the new CEO of Wynn Resorts – which includes Wynn Boston Harbor – is probably the one person most responsible for bringing the $2.4 billion resort casino across the Mystic River to Everett.
It was Maddox, who last month became the CEO in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against former charismatic CEO Steve Wynn, who happened to see a small news clipping in his e-mail talking about a potential casino site being touted to Hard Rock Casino developers in Everett.
Fresh off a humbling casino proposal loss in Foxborough, the Wynn organization had pulled out of Massachusetts. As the story is told, though, Maddox hadn’t removed the Boston news alerts from his computer.
So it was he saw that little story about Everett that piqued his interest about another run at a Boston casino.
A phone call to Steve Tocco of Mintz Levin, and then a few phone calls around Everett, and shortly after that Maddox was taking a walking tour of the site, which he was very excited about. Soon after that, Steve Wynn and Maddox were sitting in Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s office at Everett City Hall.
The rest, of course, is history.
Maddox has rarely told that story, but it’s one that has become more appropriate for the Wynn Boston Harbor venture as Maddox, 42, has now taken charge of the Wynn company.
According to a biography provided by Wynn, Maddox grew up in a very small town in Arkansas with a population of just over 5,000 people. With a keen interest in investment banking since he was a small child in Arkansas, Maddox pursued that career early in life and worked for Bank of America and, later, for the predecessor of Caesar’s Entertainment.
That job caught the eye of the Wynn team, who formed Wynn Resorts in 2002 and made Maddox one of their first hires. He served as treasurer and vice president of investor relations when he came to Wynn, with one of his first tasks being to secure the financing for the Wynn Las Vegas project.
However, his claim to fame with the company was forging a path in Macau to secure a casino property there – a property that has become a major revenue source for the company.
“Maddox was among the first of the Wynn executive team to relocate to China in 2003, becoming the Chief Financial Officer of Wynn Resorts Macau,” read the company bio. “During his three years in Asia, he was a key leader on the pre-opening team that built the organization from ground breaking through the resort opening in 2006. The resulting Wynn Macau has proven to be one of the most successful integrated resorts ever created, and remains the only resort in the world with eight Forbes Five Star awards. In 2005, Mr. Maddox was named Senior Vice President of Business Development for Wynn Las Vegas, and later for Wynn Resorts.”
In 2013, after being promoted to president and chief financial officer, he focused on China once again and led the financing for the $4.2 billion Wynn Palace in Cotai. That hotel has also won awards from Forbes and has more than 1,000 rooms.
Last month, during the scandal that rocked the Wynn empire, Maddox assumed the duties of CEO of the company from Steve Wynn, who resigned his position. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) continues an investigation into the suitability of the company, as well as who knew about settlements and payments made by Steve Wynn for alleged sexual misconduct in 2005.
Maddox told the Boston Globe in a recent interview that he did not know about the settlement allegations during the vetting process in Massachusetts, and said the company has an investigation going on right now that is looking into who knew what and when.
Maddox has not been available to local reporters, but in an interview with the Boston Globe, he affirmed his support for Wynn Boston Harbor, and also said that the Wynn company is more than one person.
“Wynn is not about one person, it’s not about management, it’s about the 25,000 people that work here,” he told employees recently during a meeting following the fallout, according to Wynn.
He told the Globe that they are still committed to the Boston project fully, and have no intentions to sell it off to another developer.
“Absolutely,” he told the Globe. “We have spent $1.3 billion out of $2.4 billion [budgeted for Everett]. There are between 1,200 and 1,400 construction workers on site every day. I’m telling you, this is going to be the nicest integrated resort in the Northeast. It will have the biggest ballroom in the Northeast, 671 hotel rooms, 13 food and beverage outlets. It’s full steam ahead.”
Another hot topic has been the name of the property. While many believe that the Wynn brand name is now tainted beyond repair, Maddox told the Globe emotions are too raw right now to make that kind of game-changing decision.
“Emotions are so raw right now around this topic,” he told the Globe. “What I’m telling people is you don’t look at those things right now in this state. Because Wynn is a brand — it’s not about a person, it’s about the 25,000 people that work here. Our Chinese customers — we had one of our biggest Chinese New Year’s ever last week — they understand the Wynn brand. They don’t associate it with a person; they associate it with luxury and with service and with first class.”
Finally, he told the Globe that the Everett casino will still have the luxury cache that all Wynn properties have, even without the personal touch of Steve Wynn.
He told the Globe that Roger Thomas has been the company’s chief designer for several years, and Steve Wynn had not been involved at the detail level for some time. The last two casino openings, Maddox said, have been handled chiefly by Thomas.
“Roger is the author and Steve was always the editor,” Maddox told the Globe. “Steve had very clear ideas about how he wanted to do things. But Roger is the person — along with his quite large team — who specifies where we get the granite. Steve Wynn — he is a visionary. It is a fact. You can look up and down Las Vegas. But we have people who have worked on all these projects, in the design, conception, and execution, for over 30 years. There are no better-trained people in the world to execute new projects. We’re the ones who have done it.”
Maddox is expected to travel to Everett to take a tour of the resort casino project in the next month or so.
We congratulate the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center on being named as one of the “Top Places To Work” in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe.
What a great honor it was for EBNHC Chief Executive Officer Manny Lopes, Chair Rita Sorrento, Human Resources Director Linda Dailey, Chief Medical Director Jackie Fuentes, and Vice President of Operations Lili Silva to accept the award during the formal presentation ceremony.
Certainly this prestigious award given by New England’s largest daily newspaper reflects well on the leadership of Lopes and his administrative team.
Lopes said that “a close-knit community culture and a passion that our employees have for making a difference in the lives of our patients that making working here special.”
The Globe praised EBNHC for “its innovative ways to engage and motivate their workers, which often serves as a key factor in innovation and leads to better professional performance.”
EBNHC has been a tremendous contributor to many local organizations, not only with its actions and its support, but with the presence of Manny Lopes and EBHNC employees such as Michael Nicastro and others at various events in our community.
We are pleased that the Globe has brought this favorable recognition to EBNHC, one of the largest employers in the area.
After having restrained itself for many months, Wynn Everett owner Steve Wynn said Wednesday that his company is fed up with the treatment its received in Boston and they were now going to do something about it – filing a one-count, 10-page libel suit in Suffolk Superior Court on Monday.
The suit became public late on Tuesday, and Wynn officials did not provide it to the media. The Patriot Bridge obtained the suit documents in person at Suffolk Superior Court.
The suit did not name a defendant, but instead identified the parties as ‘John Doe 1-20.’ It was filed locally by Joshua Solomon and Phillip Rakhunov of Boston, but it is driven by well-known Wynn libel attorney Barry Langberg of Santa Barbara, CA. Langberg has represented Wynn successfully in other previous libel cases, and authored a letter to the City of Boston earlier this year warning that the legal actions taken by the City could result in a libel suit. Apparently, the most recent lawsuit announced last week must have been the straw that broke the casino’s back.
“Although our commitment to Massachusetts is absolute and irrevocable, our tolerance for mean-spirited, libelous statements has exceeded any reasonable limit,” said Steve Wynn in a statement to the Patriot Bridge after it obtained the suit. “Someone knowingly disseminated sham subpoenas containing falsehoods – outright lies – designed to interfere with our license granted by the Gaming Commission and defame our reputation. We intend to identify the malicious individuals who did this and call them to account.
“No individual or company who presents themselves honestly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by any measure of fair play, should be subjected to the defamatory political abuse that we have experienced, and it is our intention to finally deal with it,” he continued.
The libel suit seems to be centered on getting to the point where depositions, under oath, can be taken so that the person who leaked the suit to the press can be identified.
The suit centers around statements made in subpoenas contained in the supplemental City of Boston lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The libel suit indicates that two described incidents within the suit were provided to the press, in this case the Boston Globe, before Wynn was even served notice of the lawsuit.
“Defendants caused certain ‘subpoenas’ to be delivered to the media, even before they were served on the persons named in the subpoenas,” read the suit. “The real purpose of these ‘subpoenas’ was to transmit to the media and cause to be published in the media, false and defamatory statements about Wynn and (Wynn President Matthew) Maddox. Defendants attempted to protect themselves from responsibility for the defamation by relying on the word ‘alleged.’ However, the law is clear that publishing false allegations purporting to rest on hearsay by relying on the word ‘alleged’ does not absolve the defendants from responsibility for publishing the falsehoods.”
The City of Boston, in a statement to the Patriot Bridge, said it was not responsible for leaking any information to the Globe.
“We have not seen the lawsuit, but the City did not provide these documents to press,” said Bonnie McGilpin in a statement from the office of Mayor Martin Walsh.
The suit identifies two incidents that were leaked to the Globe on or about June 30 this year.
The first was a well-publicized allegation in the Boston lawsuit that two private investigators working for Wynn obtained unauthorized access to the Attorney General’s “wiretap room” in the AG’s main office in Boston. The two investigators named have since issued affidavits swearing that the allegation is untrue, with one of them indicating he had never worked for Wynn, but had worked for Suffolk Downs – Wynn’s competitor in the licensing process.
The purpose of being in the “wiretap room,” according to the Boston lawsuit, was to gain knowledge of whether or not Revere developer and convicted felon Charlie Lightbody had an ownership or connection to the Everett casino land. As a felon, he could not profit from any land sale to the casino company. He had previously had an ownership interest, but had been bought out – though that situation is being sifted through right now in a Federal Court criminal case.
The “wiretap room” allegation was published first in the Boston Globe and picked up by many Boston media outlets. Those media reports surfaced – the suit read – before Wynn was even informed of the allegation.
The second identified incident was a report of a clandestine meeting in a trailer on the Everett casino site in early 2013, where the owners of the land allegedly told Maddox and Wynn Legal Counsel Kim Sinatra that Lightbody was an owner, “but they were working on getting him out.”
The libel suit read that Maddox and anyone else at Wynn never knew of Lightbody’s potential involvement until July 2013, when the MGC informed them of some potential problems.
Wynn’s libel suit indicated that both statements were false, and that Boston knew the statements were likely false, but caused them to be included in order to get them published and create negative press towards the Wynn casino project.
“The false statements tend to lower the estimation of Wynn and Maddox in the community and hold them up to scorn, hatred, ridicule and contempt, and tend to prejudice Wynn and Maddox in their business,” it read. “Wynn is informed and believes that at the time they caused the false statements to be published, defendants knew they had only unreliable hearsay information supporting the statements, while at the same time defendants had available to them reliable, firsthand information that the statements were false. Thus, defendants, with knowledge of falsity and with reckless disregard for truth, caused the false statements to be published.”
Wynn’s suit went on to allege that the defendants – who again, are as yet unnamed – were aware of at least one person with firsthand knowledge of the false statements and had confirmed them to be false.
The suit seeks to prevail on the libel count, to be awarded compensatory damages in the maximum amount allowed by law, and to be reimbursed for attorney’s fees.
Just a few weeks after the Boston Herald endorsed the Mohegan Sun project, the Boston Globe surprised everyone with a comprehensive endorsement of the Wynn casino project in its edition on Sunday, Sept. 9.
“…a rival plan in Everett looks much more in keeping with the law’s intent,” read the editorial. “If commissioners are determined to green-light a site for casino development this week, despite the looming referendum, they should choose the Everett option. It provides an economic and environmental boost to what may be the most downtrodden corner of Greater Boston, and enjoys far greater community support than the rival plan for a Mohegan Sun casino at Suffolk Downs.”
The Globe’s endorsement – which covered an entire page of the paper – went on to say the Mohegan casino should have been done with after last November’s failed referendum in Eastie.
“The defeat of the initial casino plan at the site last year should have been the end of the proposal, and the hastily revised plan and Suffolk Downs’s new partnership with Mohegan Sun does not cancel out the clear verdict of voters in East Boston last year on a materially similar proposal,” it read.
The Globe’s seal of approval prompted a lengthy letter from Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo on Monday about what he considered inaccuracies with the editorial.
“The Globe editorial board would be more honest with its readers by stating that it does not want to see a resort-style casino built in eastern Massachusetts, rather than encourage a license for an applicant with a track record of dramatically over promising and then disappearing,” he wrote on Monday. “The more people know the truth, the more they like Mohegan Sun’s plan.”
Wynn had no comment on the Globe endorsement when contacted, or to the Herald’s endorsement of its rival project.