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Foxwoods group will spend $3 million to gauge impact of Milford, Mass., casino proposal

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published May 07. 2013 4:00AM

Milford, Mass. - A partnership headed by Foxwoods Resort Casino will spend up to $3 million on consultants to evaluate the impact of a $1 billion casino project proposed for the town, an attorney told the Board of Selectmen Monday night.

The attorney, Kimberly Copp of Chicago-based Shefsky & Froelich, said her firm, hired by the town earlier this year, has engaged a series of consultants who will study various aspects of the project and that Foxwoods has hired its own corresponding set of consultants.

Foxwoods, she said, will be responsible for all of the consultants' fees.

"This says they're serious," Copp told the board's three members, all of whom had raised doubts about the viability of the proposal at an April 8 meeting here.

At that earlier session, the selectmen asked FCX Massachusetts LLC, an entity headed by Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and chief executive officer, to return in six weeks with firm details of the partnership's plan to build a resort casino off Interstate 495.

No representatives of FCX Massachusetts attended Monday night's meeting.

According to Copp, the town's consultants will study the proposal's economic impact on the town, including its effect on police and fire services, schools and "general administration." They will study the number of spin-off businesses and jobs the project could be expected to create and its impact on traffic, utilities and the environment.

Finally, she said, consultants will examine projected gaming revenues associated with the project and evaluate whether its financing is in place.

Some of the consulting work is contingent on the town reaching a "host community agreement" with the casino developers and residents' subsequent approval of the plan in a referendum.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will issue one casino license for the northeastern region of the state that includes Milford, would ultimately consider the project. FCX Massachusetts' proposal is one of three vying for the license, the others being Wynn Resorts of Las Vegas, which has secured a host community agreement with the town of Everett, and a partnership between Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment and Suffolk Downs in East Boston.

Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis said he wants "numerous" public hearings to be held in Milford before a referendum takes place - if the process gets that far.

FCX Massachusetts is expected to return to Milford to meet with the selectmen June 3.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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