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Selectman Interviewing Casino Legal Advisors

The Board of Selectmen was scheduled this week to interview the Chicago law firm, Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., as the first step in seeking legal advisors to help the town negotiate with casino developer David Nunes should his proposed resort casino off Route I-495 receive financial approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Chairman Brian Murray told his colleagues on February 25 that Town Counsel Gerald Moody wanted to contract with the Chicago firm, noting that $50,000 of Nunes's state application fee and the $65,000 Nunes gave the town "would give us $115,000 to work with." Further, the law firm could hire all other necessary experts to assist in evaluating Nunes' proposal and developing an agreement with him and his partners.

Information provided by Shefsky & Froelich to Moody states that the law firm already is representing communities in two other parts of Massachusetts that are designated as sites for resort-type casinos.

Commenting on Murray's request, Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis noted, "That's wise and prudent for us to do at this point." However, Selectman William Buckley said the board should interview firms before hiring one. "This is something significant. I want to make sure we have more than one law firm to assess," he said. "I'd like to meet with a couple of firms to see who could best represent the own." "I think Bill's comments have merit," DeBartolomeis then added.

"There aren't that many [law firms with casino expertise] available," Town Administrator Louis Celozzi said. "Very shortly, this process will be moving very swiftly."

"I want to get our resources in line, so that when we get an application, we can go farther," Murray said. He said he would ask Moody to find out what other law firms are available while asking Shefsky & Froelich to come to the board's March 4 meeting.

In other business, the board suspended the liquor license for Scioli's Pizza Bar on South Main St. for a three-week period beginning March 1. A Worcester Superior Court judge recently denied the bar's appeal of that suspension.




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