Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

The Chelsea City Council passed a unique pilot program by a vote of 8-2 on Monday night that would allow qualifying students at Chelsea High an opportunity to finish their Associate’s Degree after high school on the City’s dime.

The program is a partnership with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and was championed by City Manager Tom Ambrosino this year in his State of the City. It is seen by him and the School Department as a logical extension of the dual enrollment program at the high school that allows students there to take college level courses at BHCC.

The problem with the program in Chelsea, Ambrosino and others said, is that many students after graduation don’t have the financial resources to continue on and finish the Associate’s Degree they have been working towards.

The pilot program would use $150,000 in the first year, and would be open to students who have completed 12 credits while still in high school within the dual enrollment program. They also must remain Chelsea residents while receiving the benefit.

If a student applies for and gets a Pell Grant, BHCC will provide a subsidy as well and will waive tuition for the student as part of their end of the bargain.

“I had concerns at first, but I did some digging and it’s a good program,” said Councillor Leo Robinson. “I will be supporting this.”

“Many of the students in dual enrollment can’t complete their degree by the time they graduate high school, and they just don’t have the resources to complete it afterward,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “I think now is a great time to invest in our young people.”

But not everyone was on board, and some who voted for it had concerns as well.

Councillor Luis Tejada ended up voting for the matter, but said he was challenged by it.

“My challenge is with the money going to just Bunker Hill,” he said. “What I have a bigger problem with is you take care of your household first before you take care of your extended family. If you take care of everyone else before your household, you will tank…We have a $3 million deficit in our school system and Free Cash should be devoted to that first…If there is excess cash, maybe it should be devoted to the public schools.”

The chief detractor, however, was Councillor Bob Bishop, chair of the Finance Committee. Bishop said it’s a good program, but shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayers.

“To me, it’s a big problem because we’re using taxpayer money on something we’re not required to spend it on,” he said.

“This $150,000 is a pilot program and next year it could possibly be a lot more money,” he said. “I don’t understand how we can get involved in the business of paying for college for a select few…I suspect this is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. This is $150,000, but it will be $500,000.”

Councillor Giovanni Recupero agreed with Bishop, saying it should be funded by private money and not taxpayer dollars.

Councillor Roy Avellaneda said it was about investing in the future of students in the modern era.

“The school education system we have is outdated,” he said. “Everyone knows you need more than a 12th grade education in this economy. You need advanced courses beyond high school. As a City, we have to prepare them. It only makes sense to prepare them for today. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, a college education is required for that.”

Councillors Judith Garcia was absent for the vote, but had vocally supported the matter in previous meetings.

  • On a related note, the Council voted 10-0 without much discussion to approve a $50,000 program to help City Hall employees pay for courses to advance their education. That program was also proposed by Ambrosino and championed by the Council.

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MGC:Wynn Boston Harbor Proceeding with Project ‘At Risk’

MGC:Wynn Boston Harbor Proceeding with Project ‘At Risk’

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said they would proceed as normal with plans for the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino, but described the situation as “awkward” and said that Wynn was moving forward with the project “at its own risk” – meaning that losing the Region A gaming license is a possibility.

The situation came at the MGC’s monthly meeting on March 29 in Boston, where Wynn appeared for their first quarterly update since CEO Steve Wynn resigned under sexual misconduct allegations in February. The dual nature of the program for Wynn – and the reason for the awkwardness – is that the MGC is running a no holds barred investigation into the company right now, while at the same time proceeding with matters as if nothing has happened.

It is the reason for the ‘at risk’ designation now given to the project.

Wynn Boston Harbor president Bob DeSalvio said they made the decision to proceed at their own risk and they are not worried about it at all.

“It doesn’t (worry us) whatsoever,” he said. “We certainly understand we are always under review with regards to licensing with the Gaming Commission. As far as the local workforce goes, we are moving forward – all systems go.”

He also explained that there are two investigations going on right now, the MGC one and one from the Wynn Board of Directors. He said they need to let both play out right now.

“The best thing we can do now is let those play out,” he said, noting that they won’t put any timelines on it. “They have significant work to do. They will be thorough.”

Further questioned by members of the media about Wynn’s suitability to hold a license in Massachusetts, DeSalvio said he believed they were suitable.

“We are an excellent gaming company operating at a very high level in Las Vegas and Macau. Next June, we’ll be operating in the Commonwealth,” he said. “Our 25,000 team members do an outstanding job every day…We feel we are very much suitable.”

MGC Chair Steve Crosby said Wynn has made the decision to proceed, and right now their license is still viable – but he said there are investigations that are ongoing.

“We’re simply awaiting the outcome; that’s where it now stands,” he said.

“There are two things happening here,” he continued. “This is the biggest single-phased development in the history of Massachusetts. It’s a $2.4 billion project in Everett. It’s critical for Everett and communities around it…From a workforce perspective, we need to remember this can hurt a lot of people’s lives and lots of money that’s been invested. In parallel, we have to do a thorough no holds barred investigation…We will bring the results of that forward and talk about it in front of everyone.”

He also stated the Wynn project is at its own risk.

“Wynn is making the decision to proceed,” he said. “There is an investigation going on and they will be doing this at their risk. That the decision they made and that’s fine with us.”

The discussion of being ‘at risk’ came at the outset of Thursday’s meeting, when MGC Executive Director Ed Bedrosian Jr. set the tone and addressed the awkwardness of the situation.

He said the investigation is ongoing and that he hopes they can have the results to the MGC by summer. He said that right now there are MGC investigators in Las Vegas making inquiries.

“It’s an awkward situation, but the matter from now on must continue on parallel tracks,” he said.

“As a practical matter, Wynn Resorts is proceeding on the project on an at-risk basis,” he said.

  • Crosby chastises Wynn on sexual harassment

MGC Chair Steve Crosby had a word of warning for the Wynn group during and after the meeting on Thursday as the company discussed hiring and employee matters, but skirted by any discussion of sexual harassment training.

“To not bring attention to sexual harassment and women in the workplace during that discussion seemed to be a fairly substantial missing piece for the protection of employees,” he said. “It seemed to be a pretty big missing piece, particularly for people from Wynn Resorts.”

The discussion came during the report on employment, diversity employment goals and the new employment practices being put in place in preparation for a “mass hire” in early 2019.

Wynn officials said they are in the process of modifying their policies and will report back soon.

  • New commissioner to come soon

Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald has left the MGC as a commissioner, and Attorney General Maura Healey has appointed Eileen O’Brien to the vacant post.

O’Brien will begin her seating on the MGC this week.

O’Brien, a Newton resident, served in various positions within the Special Investigations and Narcotics Division at the AG’s Office, including chief of the division from April 2004 to July 2008.

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School Budget Shortfall Hits More than $3 Million, Called Today’s Civil Rights Struggle

School Budget Shortfall Hits More than $3 Million, Called Today’s Civil Rights Struggle

The Chelsea Public Schools has hit a major shortfall in its budgeting for next year, and reported at recent meeting that it is in deficit $3.1 million, and has been underfunded by as much as $17.2 million by the state funding formula.

It has now become a major call to action for the school community and for activists in Chelsea, including the Chelsea Collaborative – whose Director, Gladys Vega, called on the City Council to support joining a lawsuit against the state for underfunding schools.

That suit was filed by Brockton and Worcester last week due to what they believe is chronic underfunding of urban schools through the 1993 Education Reform School Budget Formula.

“This reimbursement problem in the formula needs to be solved and I think we need to address the formula and I urge the City and the City Council to join with Brockton on this lawsuit against the state,” said Vega at Monday’s Council meeting.

She was right on the same page with Supt. Mary Bourque, who on Monday morning said they are seriously considering making that move.

“We have not officially joined, but we are seriously exploring the need to join this lawsuit,” she said.

By the numbers, the state Chapter 70 School Budget has underfunded the Chelsea Schools in five categories, according to the schools. One of the key pieces comes from the new definition of economically disadvantaged students (formerly low-income), which has caused an underfunding of $1.077 million in the coming year. Other areas included things where full reimbursements are promised, but only partially delivered – such as with Charter School reimbursements.

Those numbers include:

  • Fringe Benefits, $5.78 million
  • Charter School Reimbursement, $2.014 million
  • Special Education Tuition, $7.98 million
  • Homeless Student Transportation, $373,059

This came on the heels of a very lively and contentious meeting at City Hall by the School Committee on March 15, where the School Budget process was rolled out to a standing-room only crowd.

Bourque led off the meeting saying it is time to stand up for public education, and pressure legislators to take up the cause – a cause she said was the Civil Rights struggle of our time.

“Sadly, we find ourselves in a time and place where we are not willing as a society to invest in public education,” she said. “Each year I come to you with a budget that is failing each year to meet the complex needs of our students. Each year I come to you with a budget that fails to provide an equitable education compared to public school children in wealthier communities. Each year these educators…are being asked to do more with less and less. Providing our schools with the funding that’s needed to educate the next generation is the Civil Rights struggle of our time. I ask you: Will you join me in this Civil Rights struggle and our quest for social justice? We need to have the courage to standup now and today for public education.”

The Chelsea Teacher’s Union called for the same kind of advocacy, but also called on the City and the City Council to use its $34 million in Free Cash to shore up the School Budget.

“For the short term, the City of Chelsea has made some significant investment in the schools and we appreciate that. However, we need more,” said Sam Baker, vice president of the union. “The City has $34 million in Free Cash and the City is seeing significant real estate development. What is the purpose of all this this development and progress if the proceeds aren’t going to support the education of the kids in Chelsea? The CTU welcomes the opportunity to advocate for changes at the state level. That’s a long term solution. I’m asking the School Committee and the school community to lobby the City Council to release more funds to the School Department here in order to prevent the cuts to this proposed budget.”

Catherine Ellison, a special education teacher at the Browne Middle School, said many of her students have suffered because of budgets last year. She said last year the middle school Special Education budget was slashed, and after hearing of the impacts, the budget still wasn’t restored.

“Caseloads have soared while resources have severely declined,” she said. “Children have been forced to struggle in mainstream classes while funds were cut…Our staff and our students have been aggressive in addressing the increasing and complex needs of our brilliant, resilient and magnificent children. It’s time for the school district to do the same.”

Chelsea is not alone in the struggles, which is why the lawsuit is such a tempting option for urban schools like Chelsea.

Already, in Everett, mid-year cuts to the tune of $6 million were avoided by an infusion of cash by the City, and it is expected that the Everett Schools could need as much as $8 million to plug holes next year.

Revere has a similar circumstance and isn’t as far in its budgeting process as Chelsea and Everett, but it is expected they will have a sharp deficit as well.

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DiDomenico Supports Animal Welfare and Safety Legislation

DiDomenico Supports Animal Welfare and Safety Legislation

Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate unanimously adopted a bill designed to protect the health, safety and well-being of animals. S.2332, “An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns” (PAWS II), expands on gains first secured in the original PAWS law which was filed in response to the Puppy Doe animal abuse case of 2014.

 “I was proud to support this important piece of legislation that strengthens and adds to the animal safety and welfare protections created under the original PAWS bill,” said Sen. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This bill sends a strong message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated, and we will continue working to ensure that all animals are treated humanely here in the Commonwealth.”

 “The Puppy Doe animal torture case inspired strong legislative action designed to increase protections for animals and prevent animal cruelty and neglect.  PAWS II builds on the foundations of our original law and will ensure that abuse is reported and enforced, that animal drownings are outlawed, and that our animal control laws reflect the seriousness of animal torture and abuse,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Minority Leader of the Massachusetts and the original sponsor of the bill.

 “Our commitment towards ending the cruel and inhumane treatment of innocent animals is steadfast, and today we have taken significant action to protect their safety and welfare,” said Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), a longtime champion of animal welfare legislation.  “There is zero tolerance for such despicable brutality and today’s action by the Senate sends a clear message.”

 “We do not tolerate animal cruelty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation ensures that animals are treated humanely and that those who engage in animal cruelty are punished. One animal that dies of mistreatment is one animal too many.”

 PAWS II will enhance humane treatment of animals, expand the role of mandated reporters, and punish those who engage in animal cruelty. Key components of the bill include provisions to:

  • ensure abuse is reported;
  • ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws;
  • prohibit the drowning of wild and domestic animals;
  • prohibit engaging in sexual contact with an animal;
  • remove automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting;
  • add animal crimes to the list of offenses that serve as the basis for a request for a determination of detention and or release upon conditions;
  • prohibit discrimination against specific dog breeds; and
  • require abandoned animal checks in vacant properties.

 The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Nathan Smolensky Announces as Independent in Congressional Bid

Nathan Smolensky Announces as Independent in Congressional Bid

Nathan Smolensky, a non-profit manager from Somerville, has announced that he will be running as an Independent for Massachusetts’s 7th District Congressional seat.

“We need Independent voices to speak up,” says Smolensky, “now more than ever. The parties are becoming increasingly polarized, and that means more strong-arming and undermining in our politics, and somehow even less getting done. The Democrats and Republicans are locked in this endless tug-of-war, and the American people are paying the price. But we can break the partisan stranglehold by demonstrating a formula for Independent success, and if we do that we can really change things.”

Smolensky’s own brand of non-partisan politics is focused on themes of empowering local solutions by making the federal government more symbiotic with local efforts, improving government efficiency by addressing wasteful and unsustainable spending programs, and making long-term policy possible by creating a blueprint for Independent success that can pave the way for a shift of the political landscape away from the volatile pendulum swings of the current paradigm.

The 27-year-old Somerville resident is currently best known for his work with the non-profit Massachusetts Chess Association, where he has served as president since 2013. In that role, he has spearheaded the organization’s educational initiative, Chess for Early Educators, which currently has pilots for curricular programs run by regular schoolteachers in several Somerville public schools.

Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District is comprised of the municipalities of Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Randolph, roughly 70 percent of the city of Boston, and about half of the city of Cambridge and the town of Milton. Since taking its current shape in 2013, it has been won by incumbent Democrat Michael E. Capuano, also of Somerville, without a general election challenge. Its lopsided nature, however, can be a boon for independents, argues Smolensky:

“That’s the beauty of running in a district like this one. There’s no third-party or spoiler stigma. You’re not asking anyone to throw their vote away. You don’t have that bogeyman of the greater evil to scare people away from voting Independent. This is the kind of environment we [Independents] can thrive in, and, thanks in part to gerrymandering, there are a lot of places we can find it.”

Currently, Capuano is facing a primary challenge in Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. No other candidates have announced intentions to run.

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DiDomenico Supports and Promotes Civics Education Curriculum

DiDomenico Supports and Promotes Civics Education Curriculum

Last week, Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate voted to pass, S.2355, An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement.  The legislation enacts a hands-on and experiential approach to fostering civic engagement by incorporating project-based learning components, encouraging the instruction of civic competencies – including news and media literacy – and providing extracurricular civic-participation opportunities.

 The curriculum is made possible by the Civics Project Trust Fund, which will provide funding for professional development and for the further development of curriculum frameworks.

 “Now more than ever, civics education is of the highest importance to teach and prepare our next generation of leaders,” said Sen. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “I am confident that this legislation will empower youth with the tools and knowledge they need to be well-versed in our electoral system and legislative process, and will ensure that they are ready to be active participants in our democracy.”

 “I am incredibly proud of the bill that we passed today,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This civics curriculum is a long-term investment in the future of our Commonwealth. When we begin to educate our children about civic responsibility at a young age, we foster the growth and development of our nation’s future leaders.”

 “One of the primary purposes of our education system is to have an informed and engaged citizenry; this bill will aid in students understanding of rights, our laws and electoral system, and the value of their participation in our democracy,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester).

 “Civics education is crucial to mending the perilous state of our country’s politics and governance. Equally important, it will increase access to governance and civic learning for students from communities that have been historically disenfranchised. This bill is an important step toward fulfilling our responsibility to pass the torch of democracy to the next generation of voters and problem-solvers,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education.

  The bill has been referred to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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We Need Courage to Stand Up for Public Education

We Need Courage to Stand Up for Public Education

(The following was delivered to the School Committee at its public hearing on Thursday, March 15)

Good evening and welcome to the Chelsea Public Schools FY19 Budget Public Hearing. This year’s budget represents a budget gap of $3.1 million between what we need and what we can do.

We have worked very hard in this budget season to maintain a district lens and sacrifice for the greater good of our students and staff. We have maintained programs and services that are required compliance, regulations or law; we have prioritized our Accelerated Improvement Plan work and our Turnaround Plan work, because that work is about our students’ futures. We have made cuts that were the least impactful on classroom instruction and we have shifted positions with the shifting needs of our student demographics—positions shifted to where there is more student need.

It is fitting that our FY19 school budget is being presented to you this week; because this week is Public Schools Week across our nation. Public schools are the foundation of our democracy. Ladies and gentlemen, I LOVE PUBLIC EDUCATION!

Public education is inclusive and universal. We welcome and educate all races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, and languages. We are the best investment with the highest return on our future as a country, dollar for dollar.

Strengthening our public schools is the best way to ensure our children’s success and our country’s prosperity. And yet, sadly, we find ourselves in a time and place where we are not willing as a society, as a citizenry, to invest in public education. Each year I come to you with a budget that is failing more and more to meet the complex needs of our students.

Each year I come to you with a budget that fails to provide an equitable education compared to public school children in wealthier communities. Each year we, these educators—teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals here tonight are being asked to do more with far less.

Providing our schools with the funding that is needed for our children, for the next generation is the civil rights struggle of our time. Will you join me in this civil rights struggle; will you join me in our quest for social justice?

We need now, today, to have the courage to stand up for public education. We need to have the courage to face our federal and state leaders and demand that the definition of “adequacy” in education, especially for our children in urban communities is no longer a fluctuating dollar figure, annually.

I ask you to:

  • Call or email your state legislators to restore to Chelsea this year the $300 per student rate in the economically disadvantaged allocation – an amount that will provide Chelsea with over $1,000,000 more in our budget.
  • Call or email your state legislators to support Senate Bill 223, An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century, which will begin a seven-year incremental and fairly paced structural fix to the foundation budget formula. Because if the foundation formula was implemented today, without adjusting rates for inflation, but simply giving us what was promised in the formula algorithm itself, such as 100 percent charter school reimbursement rather than 47 percent reimbursement, Chelsea would have an additional $17 million dollars in its Chapter 70 budget.
  • Call or email your congressional delegation to stop at the federal level the continued prioritization of privatization as well as stop the elimination of federal grants such as Title II, Title IV, 21st Century, and other cuts proposed in President Trump’s FY19 budget.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”

I ask that each of you have the courage, alongside me, to take the next step and stare down the inequities; I ask that each of you take up the next step in our educational civil rights challenge, in our search for social justice. We can’t wait any longer, the structural deficit is causing harm to our children’s futures.

We need to start loving and funding public education once again.

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Sen DiDomenico Elevated to Senate Assistant Majority Leader

Sen DiDomenico Elevated to Senate Assistant Majority Leader

State Sen. Sal DiDomenico took yet another step up the leadership ladder last week, getting two major promotions within the legislative body.

First, DiDomenico (D-Everett) was elevated to the position of Assistant Majority Leader by Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). In addition to this new leadership post, Senator DiDomenico will also now serve as Chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Bills in the Third Reading, as well as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs.

Previously, Senator DiDomenico served as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, and with this new enhanced leadership role and committee assignments, the Senator will still remain a member of this important budget writing committee.

“It is an honor and privilege to be chosen by Senate President Harriette Chandler to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Massachusetts Senate,” DiDomenico said. “I look forward to continue serving on her leadership team in this expanded role and working with my colleagues to advance legislation that will have a positive impact on the people of the Commonwealth.”

The announcement of Senator DiDomenico’s promotion came along with the announcement of Senate President Chandler’s full leadership team for the remainder of the 2018 session. The new team is highlighted by the appointment of Senators, including DiDomenico, to Senate leadership positions and new committee assignments.

“As we continue to fight for the future of Massachusetts families, the Massachusetts Senate has never had more energy or purpose than it has today,” said Chandler. “This team is dynamic, experienced, diverse in viewpoints, and represents the best of our goals as Democrats and legislators. In making these decisions, it was critical to me to bring together a team of fresh, strong voices, as well as some of our most respected, long-serving members.”

These appointments follow a unanimous Senate vote earlier this month affirming Chandler as the Senate President for the remainder of the 2018 session. Chandler was initially appointed Acting Senate President in December.

Senator DiDomenico’s full legislatives titles and committee assignments are now as follows:

  • Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate
  • Chairman of Bill on the Third Reading
  • Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Senate Committee on Ways & Means
  • Community Development and Small Business
  • Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
  • Financial Services
  • Labor and Workforce Development

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New Wynn CEO Maddox Ready to Lead Wynn Organization, Wynn Boston Harbor

New Wynn CEO Maddox Ready to Lead Wynn Organization, Wynn Boston Harbor

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.

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Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Full-service real estate and property management firm Peabody Properties (http://www.peabodyproperties.com) is proud to announce that Dusanka Caus of Chelsea, Massachusetts, has been recognized for excellence by the New England Affordable Housing Management Association (NEAHMA).

Caus, Peabody Properties’ Service Manager, was awarded Maintenance Professional of the Year at the recent NEAHMA Annual Industry Awards reception, held in conjunction with the organization’s Annual Conference & Trade Show.  The honor is given annually to a NEAHMA member affordable housing professional in recognition of their contribution to the affordable housing industry.  In addition, the award recognizes the difference the recipient has made in residents’ lives, the demonstrated skills needed to operate a well-run property, and the ability to work well with industry partners and residents living in the community.

“Dusanka is an extraordinary member of our team and well-deserving of this prestigious award from NEAHMA,” said Scott Ployer, Vice President of Peabody Properties, Inc.  “The entire Peabody Properties community extends congratulations to Dusanka.”

About Peabody Properties, Inc.

Peabody Properties is a full-service real-estate firm which manages more than 12,000 units of housing, primarily in New England. The award-winning, privately held corporation and Accredited Management Organization (AMO) was incorporated in 1976 and is under the direction of Karen Fish-Will and Melissa Fish-Crane.  In 1995, Peabody Properties recognized its long-term commitment to Resident Services as a unique area of expertise within the field of property management and established a new, specialty sector.  Peabody Resident Services, Inc. is dedicated solely to the development of support services and programs for residents of affordable housing.  Peabody Properties is designated as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), is certified by the Massachusetts State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) and was recently ranked in the top 60 on the 2017 National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) Affordable 100 List, as well as a 2017 Top Place to Work by the Boston Globe.  Peabody Properties maintains headquarters at 536 Granite Street, Braintree, MA 02184. The firm also has offices in New Jersey and Florida. For additional information please visit http://www.peabodyproperties.com.

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