SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A Springfield City Councilor is asking the City's chief lawyer for answers about the relationship between Springfield's casino consultant and companies that want to develop resort casinos in the city.
Ward 8 Councilor John Lysak sent a letter to City Solicitor Ed Pikula on Friday morning, requesting copies of communications regarding the relationship between the consulting firm, Shefsky & Froelich, and the casino developers, MGM and Penn National Gaming.
"I am writing today to request your opinion in writing about the supposed lack of conflict of interest with Shefsky & Froelich representing the City, while having represented MGM and Penn National Gaming," Lysak wrote.
According to records from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office obtained by 22News, the Chicago-based law firm Shefsky & Froelich had MGM and Penn National as registered clients.
Pikula told 22News on Friday that the firm also had represented Hard Rock, a third developer interested in a Springfield site.
On Thursday afternoon, Pikula told 22News that this is not a conflict of interest under state ethics laws.
"Our consultant disclosed its broad experience in representing the industry as well as public entities in its response to the RFP (request for proposal), and specifically pointed out the relationship with MGM in Illinois with regard to licensing, and the lack of relationship with anything to do with MGM in Massachusetts," Pikula wrote in a statement.
He continued: "At the time of the interviews, there was an indication that Penn-National may be involved, and that relationship was also disclosed. We discussed ‘walling off' any of the firms employees handling those matters from being involved in the scope of services provided under the contract with the City, and the Consultant agreed to do so."
Lysak, however, says that he wants to know what the state Ethics Commission thinks about it. "I am also requesting copies of any communication you had with the State Ethics Commission on this matter," he wrote to Pikula.
MGM recently unveiled a proposal to build a casino in Springfield's South End, while Penn National has a plan to develop a site in the city's North End. Ameristar Casinos has also expressed an interest in building a resort casino in the city, with Ameristar having plans for a casino on the former Westinghouse property in East Springfield. Hard Rock has not specified a location at this time.