NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 2, 2013

Board says no to casino

Selectmen vote against slots-only development

(Continued)

“I personally do not believe a solid agreement can be reached in the time we have to reach it that would benefit the town as a whole,” Beaulieu said. “I just don’t think you can do it.”

Richenburg agreed.

“I think 17 days is an awful short time to negotiate a deal, even with the help of a consultant,” he said.

Selectmen Ed Hunt and Fred Knowles were more optimistic. Hunt and Knowles both wanted to pursue negotiations based on the sample contract Cordish had sent them. If it could be done, the townspeople would get a chance to decide in the referendum, they said.

“I think this is an opportunity for the town to get extra revenues,” Hunt said. “The people should have a chance to vote.”

Knowles said the selectmen should be willing to try to get a contract put together in 17 days, then let the people “decide what they want in their town.”

But in the end, Cordish won no jackpot in Salisbury last night. And as soon as selectmen voted the project down, Arakelian and local resident Gil Mederios started yelling at Beaulieu, Condon and Richenburg for rejecting it.

Arakelian, a Haverhill resident who might have made millions from selling or leasing his land to Cordish, told the three selectmen their tenure on the board was over, specifically advising Beaulieu not to bother to run again.

“Why don’t you just pack up your things and get the hell out,” Arakelian shouted. “You’re ... useless. I’m going to put up a digital sign on my property saying what you guys did.”

Mederios, whom selectmen have appointed to the town’s Liquor Licensing Commission, repeatedly yelled that the selectmen’s actions were “disgusting.”

“I’m going to put a petition together to recall you guys,” Mederios shouted as he left the auditorium.

Asked why he allowed the men to rant for so long, Richenburg, chairman of the board, said he thought he’d “just give them a chance to express themselves.”

 

 

 

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