(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–A Springfield City Councilor is crying foul over the selection process in hiring a casino consultant.
Councilor John Lysak wants to see a new consultant hired.
Lysak reacts to news that the city’s casino consultant , the Chicago firm Shefsky and Froelich had worked for MGM and Penn National Gaming, two of the companies who are vying for a Springfield casino.
Besides calling on the city to hire a new consultant, Lysak has sent a letter to the city’s attorney Ed Pikula requesting copies of all communication the city has had with MGM and Penn National Gaming,”We need this to be an open and transparent process and the fact that Shefsky and Froelich have represented two of the four casino companies looking to come into the city I feel it’s a conflict of interest,” says Lysak.
City attorney Ed Pikula doesn’t feel there’s a conflict of interest and says the city is looking for the best firm for the job,”Those casino operators are very high powered , very well heeled and we’ve never done this before so we need to have people who have played in the same ballpark,” says Pikula.
As for the consultant’s connection to the casino operators, Mayor Sarno tells us he will be sending a letter to the state gaming commission and asking for their input on this situation,”There’s been some questions that have arisen pertaining to the consultant, we want to make sure the gaming commission clarifies this as we move forward, Ray I’ll look you straight in the eye and the TV camera straight in the eye, we want to make sure this is done in a very professional , methodical manner, transparent , the integrity of the process is very important,” says Sarno.
Meanwhile Councilor Lysak is also upset that the mayor did not inform the city council that the casino consultant had told the city it had done work with MGM and Penn National Gaming,”The council was not made aware of this situation, this is something where if we had known in advance I feel quite a few of the councilors would not have allowed this money to go through in the budget to hire this consultant,” says Lysak.
The consultant, the firm of Shefsky and Froelich doesn’t feel there is a conflict of interest,” We have an ethics officer in the firm and we checked with him before we applied to the RFP, both relative to the Illinois law and Massachusetts law and came to the conclusion there was no conflict of a technical or legal nature and this is a relatively normal occurrence in the legal community,” says Cezar Froelich, Chairman of Shefsky and Froelich.