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Selectmen Not Impressed by Foxwoods’ Presentation

The Milford Board of Selectmen was expecting specifics on April 8, but instead got an overview by officials of Foxwoods about the type of casino the company wants to build in Milford. All three board members bluntly told Foxwoods CEP Scott Butera they expect much more detailed information when he return to the board next month.

Butera said he wanted Milford residents to stop in a Main St. office his company is opening to give their opinions on what the casino should look like so that it is jointly developed by residents and his company. The goal is to build a facility that is "clean, safe, fun and easily accessed and something that everyone enjoys visiting," he said.

The details he gave were broad: $1 billion invested in a 300,000 square-foot facility with 4,725 slot machines and 125 gaming tables. A hotel would have 350 to 400 rooms, plus there would be specialty restaurants and entertainment venues.

Butera voiced confidence that any issues with crime, traffic, water or sewer could be mitigated, but admitted, "We have a lot of work to do."

"I think the time has passed for glossy presentations," Selectmen Chairman Brian Murray said, noting that developer David Nunes started talking to the board back in 2009 and nothing has happened since then. "I deeply wish I was here a year ago," Butera said, noting that Foxwoods was only brought into the proposal a few months ago. "No substantive work seems to have been done," Murray said back to him.

"This is the most important thing on our plate," Butera said, promising to devote two consulting firms and his entire management staff toward working on development plans.

"It seems like we're starting from ground zero," Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis said. "Now we have a whole new team." He questioned how all research and developing a host community agreement could get accomplished in time to give voters a say on the proposal by October.

"There's disappointment in our voices for a reason," Selectman William Buckley added, noting he was "seriously disappointed" in the lack of work done on the proposal. He also criticized Foxwoods in the aftermath of Nunes sending the board a fax saying he had been stripped of his authority and had lost faith in the project.

"I'm flabbergasted by the fact that this board received a letter from your partner," Buckley said. "I don't know what to say about that. It's mind-boggling," he stated. "It's a heck of a way to introduce this project and you gentlemen."

Asking to come back to the board in "six weeks" with answers to all three selectmen's questions, Butera replied "We'll bring you what we have, no matter where we are." He said that if the casino proves to be not feasible, he also would let the town know that. "Clearly, you have a lot of work to do in a short period of time to justify the words you have given us," Murray said.

Roughly 250 people attended the board's meeting in Upper Town Hall to hear the casino discussion.

Who is FCX LLC?

By Kevin Rudden

Staff Reporter/Columnist

Attorney Robert Allen told the Board of Selectmen on April 8 that FCX LLC (limited liability company) doing business as "Foxwoods Massachusetts" is the applicant before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that is seeking to build a resort casino in Milford. Crossroads Massachusetts LLC is the sole member of FCX LLC, he explained.

The attorney then listed the membership that makes up Crossroads Massachusetts LLC:

• Warner Gaming LLC, managed by William Warner

• Ajax Gaming Ventures, LLC, managed by David Nunes

• RMP Massachusetts Gaming, LLC, managed by Robert Potamkin

• Etkin Massachusetts Gaming, LLC, managed by Bruce Etkin

• White River Gaming LLC, managed by Timothy Presutti

According to news accounts, Potamkin owns multiple auto dealerships and has a stake in the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia; Etkin is a Colorado developer; and, Presutti is a Colorado-based financial investment manager.

A Milford town official confirmed that although David Nunes is no longer the lead person in the casino application process, he does remain the largest single shareholder in the venture.

On April 8, Foxwoods announced the appointment of Allan Kronberg as the day-to-day manager of Foxwoods Massachusetts and introduced him to the Board of Selectmen. The casino company said Kronberg has more than 40 years of experience building highly successful casino, hotel, sales and marketing programs. He has worked in various capacities ranging from general manager to chief operating officer with large and small multinational companies such as Hyatt Gaming, Tropicana Entertainment, Treasure Island Resort and Casino and others. As the chief operating officer of the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA), Kronberg helped to institute educational programs that are in use today as tools for hospitality industry. For over a decade, Kronberg served as the general manager at the Cape Codder Hotel/Sheraton in Hyannis.

Foxwoods officials told selectmen they would be opening an office on Main St. in the near future.


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