EVERETT, MASS. >> Wynn Resorts is delaying plans to clean up a former Monsanto chemical plant site as its $1.7 billion casino project continues to face legal challenges.

Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn's development in Everett, said Tuesday the company won't proceed with the next phase of a cleanup that began in October because the nearby city of Somerville is challenging the company's state environmental permit.

The move comes after Wynn last month announced a hiring freeze, cancelled job fairs and postponed this spring's expected groundbreaking, citing a series of legal challenges by Somerville.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone in a statement dismisses the casino's latest complaints as a "PR stunt" that distracts from resolving the casino's substantial traffic and environmental impacts on Somerville.