Passed-Over East Hartford Casino Developer Criticizes Tribes

The developer who had been aggressively pitching Connecticut's two federally recognized Native American tribes a location for their location, lashed out at them Tuesday, for passing on his site as a location for the state's third casino.

Tony Ravosa, with Silver Lane Partners LLC, rattled off a list of reasons as to why his proposal in East Hartford is superior to the remaining sites in East Windsor and Windsor Locks.

“At 283,000 vehicles a day, this is the most heavily trafficked interchange in the entire state of Connecticut," Ravosa told reporters a press conference in Hartford. “We are located twelve to fifteen miles closer to the state’s population hubs north of Hartford, logically yielding to greater trip frequency.”

He even said the East Hartford location, that he envisioned with a hotel and other commercial development was, "unmatched."

Ravosa said he's not done with his efforts to develop his site. He says he has a vision that is greater than just one location.

“In short, development of the third casino must be a building block and a catalyst for other ancillary economic development initiatives and not merely cast as an island unto itself.”

Connecticut's two tribes that operate tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan, announced last week that East Hartford was eliminated from consideration. Hartford and South Windsor were also eliminated.

The Connecticut General Assembly will have the final say on whether to approve a third casino, one that would be operated jointly by the two tribes, but it would be located on a commercial, not reservation property.

In a statement, Andrew Doba, speaking on behalf of both tribes, said Ravosa's claims amount to sour grapes, and a bitterness that he won't receive a financial windfall from a lucrative development project.

"With all due respect to Mr. Ravosa, he believes East Hartford is the best site because he has the option on the land, and it would have been good for him personally if East Hartford was selected," Doba said. He added that the goal with a third casino remains to "protect Connecticut jobs and revenue."

MGM has also attacked the process by which a location will be picked, arguing that the tribes have been allowed to operate in secret, as they've decided the steps for where another casino should be located.

Ravosa says he tends to agree with MGM's argument, and urged lawmakers to step in where they should.

“The General Assembly should not simply abdicate to MMCT’s wishes based purely on their say-so.”

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