Springfield lawyer organizes anti-casino committee - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Springfield lawyer organizes anti-casino committee

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

A Springfield lawyer has created a committee to block a casino from moving into the city.

Attorney Michael Kogut's Citizens Against Casino Gaming committee is accepting donations to fund the anti-casino movement.

"I think the answer very clear, and I think the answer is no," Kogut said.

He and his newly formed anti-casino committee will be reaching out to business owners and residents in the city to raise money against four casino giants looking to move in to Springfield.

"We believe that the residents and the citizens and the taxpayers feel strongly against it," he said.

Kogut and his team say so far people here in Springfield have been getting one side of the story on the effects a casino could have.

But city officials disagree.

"It's really too good of to not at least look at and to not explore," said City Council President James Ferrera.

He said the promise of thousands of construction and permanent jobs in the city would be hard to pass up.

"Anything of that nature that's going to be an investment of a half a billion to a billion dollars in the city of Springfield is really quite tough to not even look at it," Ferrera said.

But Kogut says his grass roots committee wants to serve as an educational resource for residents who are curious about the pros and cons of a casino.

His group will be raising funds to try and oppose a casino vote that could come as early as spring.

So exactly how much money does it take for a homegrown committee to stand up against four major corporations?

Kogut says that's not what matters.

"Whatever the amount is, it's not going to be anywhere near what the casino lobbyists are going to spend with their out of state interests ... Springfield is not a destination for a casino."

Kogut says he wants the casino vote to be citywide as opposed to only in the ward where a casino would be built.

City councilors say that will likely be the case.

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