Sunday, July 17, 2011

Who is Cedric Cromwell - aka Qaqeemasq, aka Running Bear?

Mashpee Wampanoag council chairman Cedric D. Cromwell (b. 1965) is the third in a relatively recent line of tribal council leaders for the group since they were formally recognized as an Indian tribe in 2007.  He was elected to the chairman’s position in 2009 following the conviction of one of his predecessors Glenn Marshall on federal charges of embezzling, wire fraud, mail fraud, tax evasion and election finance law violations.  When convicted Marshall had already stepped down from the chairman position in August of 2007 following disclosures of a prior rape conviction and falsification of his military record; however, he continued to play a prominent role with the tribe on gaming and related issues until his 2009 convictions and sentencing.  His vice-chairman Shawn Hendricks assumed the chairman’s slot from October 2007 until Cromwell’s election in 2009 making Cromwell only the second elected council chair since the tribe’s federal recognition.

Following Glenn Marshall’s well publicized conviction, Cedric Cromwell ran for council chair on a platform of “cleaning house” and reform from the corruption which took down the previous administration.  However, Cromwell had been serving as a member of that tribal council under Marshall since before his removal in October 2007.[1]  From 2007 to 2009 Cromwell represented the council with Marshall in gaming-related meetings with Middleboro and Fall River officials and conducted numerous joint media interviews with Marshall on the tribe’s gaming plans.

Cedric Cromwell’s 2009 election was celebrated by some but was also tainted by complaints from other tribe members of election and voter fraud alleging that the election managers, all of whom were reportedly related to Cromwell, were alleged to have manipulated voter lists and allowed individuals multiple ballots in Cromwell’s favor.  Further, the complaints alleged Cromwell’s relatives blocked access to and tampered with the tribe’s membership and genealogy files in support of his membership and candidacy.  With Cromwell’s election came new financial backers for the tribe in the form of Malaysian billionaire Lim Goh Tong and his Kien Huat Realty arm of the Genting Group.

Other tribe members brought into question the legitimacy of Cromwell’s tribal status as Mashpee Wampanoag tribal membership requirement includes: “Persons who have lived in or near Mashpee, Massachusetts, or have had family members actively involved in tribal community affairs who have lived in or near Mashpee, Massachusetts for at least the preceding 20 years prior to application for membership.”

Prior to his role as a council member in the Glenn Marshall administration in 2007, the year the tribe received formal recognition; there is little public evidence of Cromwell’s association or involvement with the Wampanoag tribe.   Cromwell appears to have been added to the tribal membership roster submitted to the Department of Interior in 2006, but did not appear on the tribes previous membership roster submitted in 2002.  Around this period a Time Magazine investigation on Indian gaming claimed that tribe backers associated with Wampanoag lobbyist Jack Abramoff hired genealogists and lawyers to help casino supporters construct and qualify for tribal membership (see side bar).  Did Chairman Cromwell get such help?

From March 1996 to December 2008 Cromwell was a financial services manager with Fidelity Investments in Providence, Rhode Island.  From 2002 to present he resided in Attleboro, MA some sixty miles from Mashpee.  In different documents Cromwell claims to have attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (2004-2005) where he stated he received a Bachelors in “CPCS;”  however, following allegations that this was not a valid claims his resume with his education details was removed from the tribe’s official website.  It appears he in fact attended University of Massachusetts in Boston where he may have earned a certificate in Community Planning in 2005.  One of Cromwell’s LinkedIn profiles claims his degree was in Management and Public Administration, and that he also received an A.S. (Associates) degree from Roxbury Community College in Computer Information Systems. 

Born in Boston to James Oliver Cromwell of Nova Scotia and Constance “Connie” Tobey, Cedric Cromwell grew up in the Dorchester and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts with his brother Craig.  Cedric attended high school in East Boston where he was a member of the class of 1983 at Mario Umana Technical School.  Cromwell was not born or raised in or around the community of Mashpee and his mother Connie Tobey reportedly moved from Mashpee to Dorchester at the age of five. 

Today Cromwell continues to reside in Attleboro, Massachusetts some sixty miles from Mashpee.  Cedric’s brother Craig Oliver Cromwell, who resides in Dorchester with his mother Connie, does not appear to have laid any claims to his Indian ancestry or membership rights in the recently recognized Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.  These facts bring into question Cromwell’s residency qualifications for tribal membership under the groups own bylaws. 

Attending the Mario Umana school in East Boston required City of Boston residency, so Mr. Cromwell was still living in the City at least until 1983.  It is unclear where Cromwell resided from 1983 – 2002; however, records lists a Cedric Cromwell  residing at  48 Stockton Street, Apt. #2, Dorchester, MA during this time.   During this time he reportedly attended Roxbury Community College suggesting he remained in the Boston area, not Mashpee or the South Shore.  This hardly falls into the residency requirement category of having lived in or near Mashpee for the past twenty years.

A 2010 investigative report by Brian Kehrl of The Enterprise Cape News revealed a twisted tail of Wampanoag lobbyists, including Jack Abramoff, Michael Smith and Kevin Ring with references to bribery and the placement of “Manchurian Candidate” officials on local boards by the casino industry backers behind the Wampanoags.  Cromwell’s wife, Cheryl Frye is noted in this report as one of the key tribe liaisons with the town.   So the question we must ask, is Cedric Cromwell the Genting Group’s Manchurian candidate and how did he qualify for tribal membership status?

[1] Mashpee tribe elects its new vice chairman, by Christine Wallgren, Boston Globe, 15 October 2007.  


  1. Looks like you did your homework here, however, I would like to point out a serious error. The "Time Magazine investigation" you cite is wrong. All genealogical research and compilation was started in the seventies and done in house. A consultant was hired to ensure that the format and integrity of the data was what the BIA required. Aside from this consultant, 100% of the work was done by Tribe members and Mashpee residents.

    The problems arose at the time that Cromwell & Co. were plotting their takeover of our government. They attempted to take over the judicial branch, then the election and membership committees and then pack the Tribal rolls with questionable "members," in order to pack the voting list.

    After Cromwell's cronies staged a fixed election, Cromwell himself certified the election, and the ballot box was destroyed.

  2. Cromwell's BA degree: (see The CPCS is not a real academic course, but a training course for "community organizers" and activists. Cromwell changed his degree designation to make it appear that he actually earned a degree from a regular academic program at UMass Boston.

    Cedric also claimed to be managing "millions of dollars worth" of portfolios at Fidelity. I guess you count data entry as management, Okay. We are all pretty sure that he was a "token minority" and was fired as soon as the economy started to tank.

  3. Thanks Ebenezer - I've made those corrections to the post. You're also correct in questioning how Cedric has such claimed "international financial experience" as a low level financial services account manager with only an Associated degree in computer science for a local community college.

    I was not suggesting that others are not legitimately qualified for membership with the Mashpee Wampanoag band, just that Cedric hardly seems to fit the 20 year residency and association requirement. That his rise to power in the tribe seems rather odd.

    Also, it seems very convenient for Mr. Cromwell, who was in default on his mortgage, taxes and utility bills the same year he signed on the Malaysian investors - and somehow his money problems have disappeared.

  4. So are you suggesting Indian tribe members, like Chief Cromwell here can take money from foreign casino investors personally to pay debts and not report that income? Wouldn't that be federal and state tax fraud or tribe members also exempt from paying personal taxes? Doesn't anyone have any way to audit tribe finances when these multi-billion dollar casino deals go down?

  5. Good Luck even Tribal members can't see the books or even know what the finances are. This tribe is so in debt because of Cedric Cromwell ,he is not the Chief but the Chairman of the tribe. And he ran on a platform of transparency and integrity .Guess that was another of his lies.

  6. Is it true that the tribe gets grants from the Federal Government so why can't the tribes finances be looked at .If they have nothing to hide.Also was not the BIA as to intervene on behalf of the Tribal Elder's to look into the very things being talked about on this site ?

  7. Maybe WAMPALEAKS should look into the other officers of the tribe Aaron Tobey JR ,Mark Harding(Paula Peters Hubby) ,Marie" TATA" Lopez Devine Stone . Also Cheryl Frye Cromwell, Yvonne Frye Peters Avant and check out their finances as they are also part of the corruption .The grand children will be paying the interest on the loans taken out by this Cromwell Administration. AT fifteen percent interest.

  8. Re: Government grants. Yes, the Tribe does get grants and the treasurer must report to the Feds on them. They should be public record, though I don't know how to access them, maybe it's a FOIA thing. But really, would you trust a report from our treasurer, self described multi-millionaire and owner of 25 Devon St. in Mashpee (between Shoestring Bay and Willow Bend Country club) and the mansion on State Rd. in Gay Head, Mark Harding?

    I understand that the Housing department grants have had negative audits. I'd like to see them.

  9. Cromwell is a POAID, nothing more. By his ancestral standards everyone from Rhode Island to PEI could likely claim to be a Wampanoag.

  10. Ebenezer is correct - UMASS Boston doesn't even offer the degree program Cedric is claiming to have gotten a B.A. in... it's only a certificate program. So this appears to be yet another falsification by Cromwell of his credentials.