SBD/January 6, 2012/Facilities

Kraft Group Discussed Casino With Top Foxbourgh Officials Last Summer

Kraft met with top town officials months before public learned of casino plans

The Kraft Group "discussed a potential Foxborough casino with two top town officials last summer, months before the public, or other town officials, learned of plans to build a $1 billion gambling resort in their town," according to Mark Arsenault of the BOSTON GLOBE. Both sides "confirm that Town Manager Kevin Paicos and Selectman Larry Harrington discussed casino issues privately with top Kraft executives, including Robert and Jonathan Kraft, in a meeting at Gillette Stadium organized by The Kraft Group." The meeting included a discussion of the "need for zoning changes if a casino proposal was to move forward." Harrington Thursday said that public officials, "including the town manager and selectmen, meet as a matter of routine with developers who might be interested in building in the town." He said, "There wasn’t a conscious effort not to tell anybody. We came back from that meeting and said: 'Let’s bring it to the Planning Board. Let’s bring it to the Board of Selectmen and see if there’s any interest.'" Paicos "lashed out at The Kraft Group yesterday, accusing the developer of mischaracterizing the substance of the August meeting" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6). Harrington said, "The Krafts indicated they wanted to test the town's interest in a resort casino. The Krafts talked in general terms about a billion-dollar investment in real estate for a hotel, conference center, retail and gaming establishment, noting the gaming part would be a small part" (FOXBORO REPORTER, 1/6).

GROWING OPPOSITION: In Boston, Christine Legere notes rumblings of opposition to the casino "are becoming louder in neighboring communities, as officials worry about the strain the operation would place on local schools, housing, roads, and public safety departments." Town officials Thursday said that selectmen in Wrentham and Norfolk are "sending letters this week to their Foxborough counterparts, protesting any plan for a local casino." Town leaders in Walpole had "previously penned their own letters of opposition." The vote by Norfolk’s selectmen "was also unanimous." The letter "goes on to offer Foxborough assistance in any battle it wages against a local casino" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6).

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Facilities, Kraft Sports Group

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