LAW FIRM WILL PROVIDE CITY WITH LEGAL SERVICES FOR PROJECTS RELATED TO PROPOSED CASINO DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY IMPACTS
July 17, 2012 – Joined by Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, and City Solicitor Edward Pikula, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that the City of Springfield has tapped the Law Firm of Shefsky & Froelich to provide legal services for projects associated with proposed casino development and community impacts. The announcement followed a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that had been released by the City in May 2012. Springfield’s Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Lee Erdmann, Associate City Solicitor Kathleen Breck, Assessor Richard Allen and Department of Public Works Director Allan Chwalek served as the RFQ review committee.
Shefsky & Froelich is a Chicago based law firm founded in 1970 with over 65 attorneys having extensive experience representing governments as well as casinos in the process of negotiating host community agreements. The law firm recently represented the City of Taunton, Massachusetts where they successfully negotiated the Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Taunton and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. That agreement was approved by a referendum vote in the Town, and a tribal compact has been negotiated with Governor Deval Patrick’s administration to operate a full-scale casino in Taunton, clearing the path for the governor to file the compact with the Legislature. Additionally, the firm has represented the City of Detroit in the development of three casinos there and they have also advised public officials for the City of Chicago as well as the States of Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio on relevant gaming matters.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno commented “We need to approach this in a professional and thoughtful manner. This is a complex process with a need for expert advice to help formulate a plan that will bring the residential and business communities the best and most viable economic development. I am pleased to announce that the Law Firm of Shefsky & Froelich with their vast knowledge and experience in the area of casino gaming has been chosen to assist the City of Springfield.”
“It is important to note that the creation of a casino ultimately will rest in the hands of the voters of Springfield who will have the final say on whether a casino comes to Springfield – as it should be,” added Mayor Sarno.
“The siting and construction of a $500 million casino would be the largest single construction project in Springfield’s history,” stated Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy. “Procuring the reimbursable services of an experienced advisor is a prudent course of action to provide expert advice throughout the negotiations of a host community agreement.” “The construction of any $500 million development will not only provide thousands of construction jobs, but will also create thousands of new permanent jobs. We want to be in a position to negotiate the best agreement we can.” The casino gaming legislation requires a minimum $500 million investment.
“We are pleased to have been selected to advise the City on this important economic development project” stated Cezar (“Cid”) Froelich, Chairman of Shefsky & Froelich. “We look forward to promptly beginning our work in Springfield and concluding a successful negotiation for a host community agreement which will benefit the City and the Commonwealth.”
The legislation legalizing casinos requires any developer to negotiate a host community agreement setting forth the conditions to have a gaming establishment located within the host community. The requirements of the agreement include a “community impact fee” for the host community and “all stipulations of responsibilities between the host community and the applicant.” These stipulations include “known impacts from the development and operation of a gaming establishment.”
After the signing of an agreement between the host community and the applicant, the applicant must have received a binding vote on a ballot question at an election in the host community in favor of such license by a majority vote. The ballot question must be accompanied by a concise summary, as determined by the city solicitor of the signed agreement between the host community and the applicant. The consultant will assist the City of Springfield with navigating this process.
Under the state gaming legislation, any applicant for a casino license must provide the commission with a signed agreement between the host community and the applicant setting forth the conditions to have a gaming establishment located within the host community; including a community impact fee for the host community. Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated “Springfield intends to require stipulations of responsibilities between the host community and the applicant, including stipulations covering the entire cost of consultants. The City has budgeted $125,000 to initiate this contract, but recognize that the costs for legal and other consultants will significantly exceed that amount, and we will require that the total costs for consultants be the responsibility of the applicant.”