Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is Cedric Cromwell the Mashpee’s Manchurian Candidate?

How did Cedric Cromwell a lifelong resident of Dorchester and Attleboro become Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman from otherwise obscurity to the tribe and Wampanoag people’s community in Mashpee?  Just last Saturday he was reported raising a celebratory toast at the Willowbend Country Club along side of Senate President Therese Murray and former Congressman turned lobbyists Bill Delahunt on their victorious legislative scheme to create a tax-free, non-competitive haven for Indian-only gaming in Southeastern Massachusetts.  It begs the question, was Cedrick planted there on behalf of deep pocketed, behind the scenes foreign gambling syndicates to do their bidding funneling billions of dollars in tax-free slot machine income out of Massachusetts into overseas bank accounts?

His “membership” in and history with the tribe is vague at best.  He appears to have come on the scene with his name on formal rolls only around 2006.  This coincides with significant investments in the tribe by overseas backers, the likes of which Time Magazine reported were “helping” tribes establish membership with their own genealogists as part of efforts to secure tribal status for the sole purposes of creating tax-exempt Indian gaming operations.

Tribal elders certainly hold no fond sentiments or recollections of either Cedric or his maternal family ties to the tribe.  Cromwell derives at least 50 percent of his genealogy from his father’s Nova Scotia, Canadian birthplace so his claims to Wampanoag ancestry come via his mother, Connie “Lone Eaglest” Tobey.   Via this line his Wampanoag “blood” ties are 1/40th at best.  In fact, several elders have claimed Connie’s family were descendants of former African slaves who took on the Mashpee Tobey family name in relative recent history with questionable Native American genealogical evidence at best.   However, Lone Eaglest and her relatives took control of the tribal genealogy and membership records during the election which brought her son Cedric to power and have locked them away from view of questioning tribe members ever since.

It wouldn’t be the first time someone in the Wampanoag leadership turned from one race to another lured by overseas gaming syndicate dollars.  One of Cedric’s tribal council chair predecessors Glenn Marshall was fighting for local Portuguese-American rights before he too found his niche in the lucrative gaming Indian  ancestral scheme.  Marshall, of course, was found guilty of fraud, rape and various other crimes associated with the Wampanoag Indian gaming ventures so perhaps he’s not the best role model if we’re to give Chairman Cromwell any benefits of the doubt - and doubts there are many. 

But how Cedric Cromwell became a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag, let alone Council Chair, of what Governor Patrick is now helping become a multi-billion dollar casino enterprise is a miraculous mystery indeed.  Cedric certainly didn’t rise to his position of power and influence from any record of stellar previous accomplishment.  His lowly roots as an IT administrator with a financial services company with only an Associates’ degree from a local community college isn’t what one would highlight as a calling card to the tribe begging them to call him into service.  In fact, prior to securing his tribal chairman role and financing from the Malaysian gambling syndicate Genting, Cedric was in default on his mortgage, taxes and utility bills.  Again, not what one looks for in the leader of a community in need of financial acumen and integrity. 

Perhaps it was his strong ties to the Mashpee community and prior service to the tribe?  Again, tribal elders don’t recall Cedric, let alone his mother Connie, being part of the local Pow Wows or other activities until right about the time promises of casino gold started to appear.  In fact, a requirement of tribal membership is having documented “vital records” showing “tribal community involvement” for a minimum of twenty years.  Further, the membership requirement includes residency “near Mashpee” which is specifically defined as within 20 miles.  (Mashpee Ordinance 9/21/2006, 1-2)

However, not only are there no “vital records”  showing community involvement prior to Cedric’s name being added to the tribe’s formal census, there are vital records proving he did not and still does not meet the residency requirements.  Cedric’s mother Connie left the Mashpee area and any association with the local tribe at the age of five.  She moved to Boston, married James Oliver Cromwell of Nova Scotia and raise Cedric and brother Craig in the Dorchester neighborhood (60-plus miles from Mashpee).  Even after finding his native ancestral roots, Cedric moved from Dorchester to Attleboro (also more than 50 miles from Mashpee) where he lives today.  His brother, by all accounts not a registered member of the Mashpee Wampanoag, and mother still reside in Dorchester.

So, how does someone with a highly questionable, 1/40th at best claim of Native American ancestry, with no documented evidence of association with or even residential proximity to a newly recognized Indian tribe rise in less than a few years to become the go-to-guy for Governor Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray to tap into tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbyist cash from the tribe? 

If you ask the tribal elders they’ll tell you – Cedric Cromwell is Genting’s Manchurian Candidate positioned to do their bidding.  Only unlike the movie, Cedric wasn’t brainwashed into his role, he appears to be happily complicit up to his neck in this scheme which will leave the Wampanoag people riddled with debt and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts robbed of otherwise taxable casino income.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight Tropical Storm Irene; Good morning Hurricane Cedric

The damage and mess from Irene we awake to tomorrow morning may cause us to rethink where and how we build near the shore and along overflowing rivers.  Utility trucks will move in to restore services, insurance companies will swarm the area to make estimates and start the process of bringing back normalcy to the storm ravaged Commonwealth.

Lest we be too distracted and relieved that the damages and tragic losses weren't worse, a new storm is brewing and when this one passes through there will be no way to fix its damage to Cape Cod, the Islands and Southeastern part of Massachusetts.   And the cause of this storm won't be global warming or unavoidable confluences of tropical depressions.  The cause of this damage wreaking is simple - greed, ignorance and corruption.  Lobbyists fueled by overseas investors and slot machine companies have stuffed campaign cash into the pockets of Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Therese Murray and others in the legislature who see fit to legislate a no-bid, non-competitive special carve out for a casino which will operate outside of any state rules or controls and in the words of tribal leader Cedric Cromwell "crush the competition" by paying no taxes or fees.

Following Hurricane Cedric we will have no recourse, no recovery, no  rebuilding.  The estimated billions of dollars Massachusetts residents spend in a Wampanoag casino will not flow back into state coffers but head overseas tax-free to Malaysian gambling giant Genting's bank accounts.  Tribal leaders like Cedric will continue to pocket six figure salaries, but the tribe will simply sink further into debt.

All because Governor Patrick and Greg Bialecki say Indian gaming is an inevitability and because Mashpee Wampanoag chair Cedric Cromwell asserts his 12,000 year ancestral right to open a casino.  Neither claim is true.  No tribe has opened a new casino with new land in trust without the support of the state in which they operate.  While many of those states now (California and Minnesota for example) wish they hadn't approved such deals, the Wampanoags could never open a casino without the complicity of the Massachusetts Governor and legislature.

Why would they delay jobs we could have today?  The Wampanoag still have to get federal laws changed and stand in a very, very long line while overcoming administrative hurdles required by the Department of Interior not just to take lands into trust but to then secure federal licenses required for creating a casino complex.

The language of the Governor's special interest bill before the legislatures DOES NOT say the Wampanoag's only have a year to accomplish this unlikely scenario at which time the bidding will be open to competition for a Region C casino.  The language, probably written by someone like Wampanoag lobbyist Bill Delahunt, only says after one year if the appointed commissions determines that the tribe will not get land in trust can they open up the region.  This language makes it open for the commission to allow the Wampanoag any number of years to continue to lobby and push for land in trust legislation and permissions as long as they believe the "may someday" get land in trust and permission to open a casino.

Why the special treatment for a group which will pay no taxes and remove local controls over zoning and law enforcement?   The state of Rhode Island is already preparing to fight the Wampanoag casino because their governor knows he can use federal rules requiring Indian casino's proposals must demonstrate no negative economic impact on other existing jobs or industries in the region.   So Rhode Island will be fighting to block Indian gaming in Southeastern Massachusetts, localities and other developers are already threatening lawsuits.   Hurricane Cedric's damage will be felt here for years, long after Governor Patrick is gone but sitting on a nice bank account filled with special interest campaign cash.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Only one thing is faster and more damaging than Hurricane Irene to Massachusetts this week.

No more controversial issue has been rammed through the Massachusetts Legislature faster and with more frenzy in recent history than Governor Patrick’s lobbyist-written casino gaming bill.  NENC reports how the behind close-door dealings caught everyone by surprise this week putting out the proposed bill and announcing a quick after labor day “debate” and vote.

The speed with which the lobbyists are seeking push this past will leave no room for any real debate or analysis of the downsides to state revenues, delayed jobs and loss of local control by localities this special-interest laden bill presents.  Faster and with more irreversible damages to the state than Hurricane Irene, watch this lobbyist fueled vortex strip away any potential Massachusetts has for transparent, non-corrupt and highest potential return to the taxpayer gaming.   What we’ll get is billions in taxpayer losses at the gaming tables largely shipped tax-free to overseas investors backing groups like the Mashpee Wampanoags with little to no return to the state.  And, local communities will lose all control over zoning, local business protections and law enforcement. 

Check out Kathleen Norbut’s interview on NECN detailing these types of concerns:

Thank you to the cast of characters responsible for this casino storm -  Governor Deval "I don't count all the checks" Patrick, former Patrick aid turned slot industry lobbyist Doug Rubin, Gregory "revenue recapture" Bialecki, Stan "sexual assault" McGee, Therese "Ca-ching" Murray, Cedric "I will crush the competition by not paying taxes or fees" Cromwell and the gang at Genting for their tens of millions in cash used to fuel lobbyists and campaign contributions to corrupt legislators.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

David Nunes - The Casino Man!

The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. One traveling salesman, among many, tells the tale of what we can expect over the coming weeks as special interests try to push bad gaming legislation through the Massachusetts State House.

At first it seemed that David Nunes, the self-styled multi-millionaire operating from a post office box in Aspen Co., was simply another carpet bagging developer who came strolling through the state some 12 years ago with his Harold Hill “Music Man” scam of promises to make millions of dollars for any and all who bought his shtick. Of course to anyone wary of swampland real estate salesmen it was clear he wasn’t selling facts. His blustering zeal with which he made his claims suggest he was even lying to himself.

That was then, this is now.

Today’s read in the Boston Globe confirms what many in the Commonwealth have long suspected: David H. Nunes a full-blown addict in search of casino gold incapable of telling the truth not only to himself, but most important to the taxpayers of Massachusetts.

“If this is a straight-up competition about which location will produce the highest returns for the Commonwealth, there is no doubt in my mind that our site will deliver’’.

Well David Nunes’ mind is a fantastical place to which he should sell time shares to other Don Quixote windmill tippers. Follow him at your own risk. Nunes is emblematic of the special interests seeking to manipulate the legislative process for personal gains that do nothing for the Commonwealth’s financial interests, job growth or local community support. They’ll say anything to excite their audience – in this case our state legislature – into a frenzy to act without full deliberation or thought.

This is Nunes today floating his “boon for the economy” trial balloon responding to the smoke filled backroom agreement the legislature reached with no public input yesterday on a proposal to bring casino gambling to the state.

If Massachusetts got a dime for every time David Nunes, Cedric Cromwell or the other casino king wannabees, who bent the truth for their own selfish purposes, nobody would be talking about casinos or gambling. Nunes’ gaffes alone would balance the budget. Nunes may not have the billions (or millions) to back up his bluster like the Asian gaming syndicate hiding behind the Wampanoag, but he certainly sells a good story.

The fact is there is nothing straight up about any of the competition Nunes or the Mashpee Wampanoag and Genting cabal wants, because they want no competition at all.

As has been reported here, Nunes claims he is prepared to spend millions to game the system with non–competitive bids and special preferences. The slot industry and Indian gaming groups already have spent their millions – which have paid off in round one with the Governor and Therese Murray’s special-interest laden bill being pushed down the throats of our elected representatives as a done deal.

And if that doesn’t work, well we can count on Nunes to keep threatening to delay, derail and otherwise obfuscate this process until somebody (probably Genting) pays him to go away. Who can forget his brazen threats from earlier this month about launching his statewide initiative? About 50 cards short of a full deck, it’s a one of a kind, openly rigged process that bars competition and ensures he cleans up on his way out of town. “If I’m going to spend the money for the initiative, I’m not going to do it so somebody else can win.”

Spoken like a true addict who has never met the truth. The lobbyists got money in the Governor’s bill to help protect racehorses, perhaps they should put in a few bucks for addiction recovery services as well.

But it gets worse.

Do a little digging and you’ll find more proof of a deluded addict who will do anything to earn a buck?

An acquaintance claims Nunes’ business skills consist of talking his way into high-powered firms only to be fired a short time later. Easy money.

Then there is there is the old “bait and switch” approach – or more appropriately in Nunes’ case “bait and tackle”.

Among the many companies Nunes owns there is Ajax Gaming Ventures. It sounds an awful lot like the Trump owned business of the same name, with one key difference:

David Nunes’ Ajax Ventures shares its street address with a bait and tackle store….and/or it used too. Ajax Ventures. A powerhouse -- run out of a Post Office Box? Kinda like Cedric Cromwell’s “powerhouse” and “crush the competition” position of being in default on his home mortgage before his cash savior Genting bailed him out.

So who can believe David Nunes when he talks about what’s good for the Commonwealth. Cedric Cromwell claiming his 12,000 year ancestral right to open a casino? How is it our state legislature is being held hostage to the self-interests’ of snake oil salesmen like these? Well, to steal a phrase from H.L. Mencken, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Massachusetts politicians.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where we are heading (humor - if not so sad because it's true)

If a tribe, which stopped being a tribe in the 1600's which is led by a chairman who only became a tribe member in his late 30's and whose ancestors are from Nova Scotia, can convince a Governor and state legislature to abandon all common sense and state's interests then we all deserve casinos!

Led my Massachusetts politicians in the pockets of slot machine, Indian gaming and casino special interests here is a peak at where we are heading.

Law Gives All Mistreated Americans Right To Open Casino (Season 1: Ep 5 on IFC)

Thank you Deval Patrick, Therese Murray, Greg Bialecki, Stan McGee, Doug Rubin, Bill Delahunt and a cast of other pawns of overseas casino giant Genting...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How the special interest lobbyists’ campaign contributions paid off today; what it will cost us tomorrow.

One need not read past the second page of the proposed gaming bill to see who’s in the driver’s seat.  What’s amazing is how our state legislators could read this and not realize how ridiculous every rule written after page two will look if this passes.  Starting with Section 2 of this legislation we are told right up front that a special interest preference for an Indian casino is going to create expensive problems for the state right from the start:

Section 2:  “To provide for certain costs associated with the implementation of expanded gaming in the commonwealth, including, but not limited to, costs related to legal, financial and other professional services required for the negotiation and execution of a compact with a federally recognized Indian tribe in the Commonwealth to establish a casino in region C…. $5,000,000

OK, so what does this mean?

  • ·        More money, taxpayer funds,  for lawyers, lobbyists and public relations flacks – which they anticipate will be needed with an Indian gaming preference (Note: there isn’t anything in the Bill which says the Indian tribe should pay for this courtesy – just the taxpayers!)

  • ·        The only “federally recognized” tribe “in the Commonwealth” are the Wampanoag – so why not just say so?  Of the five Wampanoag bands, only the Mashpee are vying for a casino in region C (defined in the legislation as Bristol, Plymouth, Nantucket, Dukes and Barnstable counties)…  Thank you Bill Delahunt and the hundreds of thousands spend on other casino lobbyists paid by Genting and the Wampanoag.

  • ·        Negotiate and execute a compact?  When are the Massachusetts legislators going to bone up on their federal law and recent Supreme Court rulings?  Calling it a compact doesn’t change the fact that ONLY the federal government can enter into any binding or enforceable agreements with an Indian tribe.   Spending $5 million of the taxpayer money on lawyers and lobbyists won’t change that.  Once the Wampanoag get their special set aside deal with the state and open up their doors, they can walk away from any deal cut with no repercussions whatsoever.

SECTION 89:  (c) The governor shall only enter into negotiations under this section with a tribe that has purchased, or entered into an agreement to purchase, a parcel of land for the proposed tribal gaming development and scheduled a vote in the host communities for approval of the proposed tribal gaming development…  The commission shall issue a request for applications for a category 1 license in Region C. 
  • The people of Region C - Bristol, Plymouth, Nantucket, Dukes and Barnstable counties will have no opportunity to weigh options for a non-Indian casino under this proposed legislation; even though the state legislators from this part of the Commonwealth have opposed bringing Indian gaming to their communities…

That aside, the remainder of the bill has extensive language about rules, investigations and enforcements for casinos in the state.  So we shouldn’t be worried about corruption or unintended ill affects these casinos will have.  Well, that’s to say nobody outside of “region C” (Southeast MA).  None of the proscribed rules in this bill will have ANY standing, jurisdiction or effect on an Indian casino.  Let’s review some of them:

Section 8: “…The commissioner of alcoholic beverages control commission shall establish a gaming liquor enforcement unit whose responsibilities shall include enforcing, regulating and controlling the distribution of alcoholic beverages in a gaming establishment…

  • ·        This should read “Except for the set-aside Indian casino,” of course, because no state authority can regulate or review what goes on in an Indian casino  They will pay no state taxes or fees on liquor; they will have no restrictions whatsoever on who is sold liquor or at what times it is sold.  Other than any self-imposed, self-regulated rules on this topic, anything goes.  And, there will be nothing anyone in the local community or state can do about it.

Section 9: “… (b) There shall be in the department of the attorney general a division of gaming enforcement…. (c) The division shall enforce criminal violations of chapter 23K which shall include, but not be limited to: (1) investigating and prosecuting allegations of criminal activity related to or impacting the operations of gaming establishments or games; (2) receiving and taking appropriate action on referrals for criminal prosecution….

  • ·        As with section 8, this should read “Except for the set-aside Indian casino” because, on Indian casinos we don’t need no stinkin’ badges – at least not from local or state law enforcement.  Only   the FBI can be called in, and only when a tribe violates its own constitution, to investigate and act on crimes committed on Indian lands in trust.  So write down this number (617) 742-5533 – it’s for the FBI field office.  Remember this when some minor is over served at an Indian casino and kills your child in a car accident.  Good luck trying to sue Tribe for damages – they are untouchable in U.S. courts and by state or local law enforcement.

Section 15:  …The colonel of state police shall establish a gaming enforcement unit the responsibilities of which shall include, but not be limited to, the investigation of criminal violations of chapter 23K or any other general or special law pertaining to gaming….

  • ·        Need we repeat? Let’s just ask the State Police how much time and energy we can expect from the FBI – did you write down the number (617) 742-5533 - with all their homeland security and other duties…  So, we’ll just have to live with whatever crime and corruption the Wampanoag’s happen to run across in their operation.  Which, given their tribal leadership’s past convictions on such petty crimes as rape,  embezzlement, making illegal campaign contributions and other campaign finance law violations, tax fraud, filing false tax returns, wire fraud, social security fraud, etc…  should give us no pause to worry.  If this were any organization other than an Indian tribe their past would immediately disqualify them from receiving a gaming license under this state scheme – yet another double standard.

Section 16:…. Chapter 23K, Section 1. (1) ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the gaming licensing process and in the strict oversight of all gaming establishments through a rigorous regulatory scheme… (2) establishing the financial stability and integrity of gaming licensee, as well as the integrity of their sources of financing… (3) gaming licensees shall be held to the highest standards of licensing…  (6) promoting local small businesses… (9) any license awarded by the commission shall be a revocable privilege… (16) monitor the conduct of licensees and other persons have a material involvement, directly or indirectly, with a licensee.. (19) request and receive.. criminal and background investigations for the purposes of evaluating employees and applicants for employment by… any regulated entity…  (20) be present, through its inspectors and agents, at all times, in gaming establishments for the purposes of: (i) certifying revenue; (ii) receiving complaints from the public… (iii) examining records of revenues and procedures and inspecting and auditing all books, documents and records of licensees… (22) inspect and have access to all equipment and supplies in a gaming establishment…  (25) levy and collect assessments, fees and fines… (26) collect taxes and fees

  • ·        The list here is too long to bother detailing, suffice to say – nothing in this legislation will apply or be enforceable with an Indian casino.  It won’t matter if we spend $5 million to negotiate a “compact” which mirrors these laws. Existing federal laws are crystal clear about the absolute independence from local laws, law enforcement, taxes, fees, zoning or rules as apply to Indian tribes and what happens in their lands-in-trust reservation casinos.  The state WILL NOT be able to review their books, conduct background investigations on their employees, have inspectors onsite, audit their books, collect any taxes, fees or fins, or do anything about public complaints.

The special interest lobbyists for the Malaysian gaming syndicate behind the Wampanoags and the slot machine industry (Doug Rubin) who similarly benefit from additional unrestricted, non-taxed and no-license fees slot machine sales to Indian tribes (estimated to be worth between $200 and $300 million) won today.  It’ll be up to the state legislature to see if this sticks.

Massachusetts casino bill a boon to special interest lobbyists

Wow is all one can say.  How Greg "revenue recapture" Bialecki and Governor "I don't count the checks" Patrick got this casino lobbyist written gift in front of any 2011 legislature is beyond words.  (Well, I'm sure Therese "Ca-ching!" Murray has some idea.)  It's as if we were back in the old days of behind closed door politics being run by mob bosses and bag men.

Click here if you want to read the copy of bill shared with the Associated Press.

Which lobbyists wrote this?  Liberty Square? Bill Delahunt?  Genting?  A sad state of affairs indeed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Greg Bialecki: Indian gaming liar, stooge or both?

State House News Service is reporting today that Governor Deval Patrick’s point man on gambling legislation Gregory Bialecki is on the march to mislead lawmakers about a “Tribal Gaming Reality” in an attempt to push the Governor’s agenda of including an Indian casino preference in pending Massachusetts gambling legislation.  Bialecki has written lawmakers making blatantly misleading and false statements about the Wampanoag’s status and legal ability to engage in Indian gaming.  

Is Bialecki just a liar?  Is he an ignorant stooge working on behalf of the Governor’s lobbyist cronies like Doug Rubin?  Regardless, he’s either a very dumb lawyer or dumb politician, because people in his position tend to get in big trouble when they mislead the legislature through deceit or ignorance.

We know about Bialecki’s history of inconsistencies, contradictions and misleading statements to legislators and the public on casino gaming issues, but this latest round of blatant lies and misdirection takes the cake.  Here’s what State House News reports the Governor’s gaming henchman is telling legislators:

If Massachusetts lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick legalize casino gambling, Native American tribes will be “legally entitled to conduct gaming” as soon as they obtain land, Patrick’s economic development chief said Friday in a letter to lawmakers. “Governor Patrick believes that limiting the number of destination resort casinos to no more than three distributed throughout defined regions of the state is the best way to maintain valuable market capacity and maximize short and long-term job creation and economic development opportunities for the entire commonwealth,” wrote Greg Bialecki, secretary of housing and economic development, in a letter to members of the state’s southeastern legislative delegation. “The federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Southeastern Massachusetts will be legally entitled to conduct gaming on their tribal lands upon successful resolution of their land-in-trust application with the Federal government. We believe it is important that any gaming legislation account for and address this tribal gaming reality.” Lawmakers from New Bedford, Fall River and other southeastern Massachusetts communities are urging the administration and legislative leaders to ensure that the tribes receive no favorable treatment in long-anticipated gambling legislation. They argued that favoring the tribes would disadvantage interested developers in other parts of the region and that a tribal casino could get bogged down in litigation, delaying any potential benefits.

What’s so deceitful and absurd about Bialecki’s statements on behalf of Governor “I don’t count every check” Patrick is the suggestion that Indian tribes like the Wampanoag will have the right and will start setting up casinos the minute Massachusetts makes them legal.  The fact is, current federal law and the Supreme Court Carcieri Decision make it illegal for an Indian tribe like the Mashpee Wampanoag to establish necessary lands in trust to set up an Indian casino.

This is not some simple matter of “resolving their land in trust application issue” and Bialecki and the Governor know this.  There is no current resolution pending anywhere for the Wampanoag – just ask the Department of the Interior.  The United States Congress must FIRST draft and pass legislation which would make it legal for the newly recognized tribes like the Wampanoag to take lands into trust for the purposes of creating a reservation on which they could then apply for permission to create a casino. 

Such legislative “fixes” to the Carcieri Decision have been attempted multiple times over multiple years and have failed.  The chances of such legislation passing anytime soon are slim to none as Senators and Representatives from states with established Indian and other gaming operations which would suffer from the new competition have successfully prevented this in the past and have pledged to do so in the future.  Do Bialecki and Patrick really believe New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut lawmakers have any interest whatsoever in helping move legislation that will create economic harm to their states?  The Governor of Rhode Island recent commissioned a study on the economic impact a casino located in Southeast Massachusetts will have on that state’s Twin Rivers casino - specifically for the purpose of having the evidence ready for required Department of Interior reviews to block the Wampanoag's plans. 

Let’s say the Wampanoag’s lobbyists, like Bill Delahunt, are somehow able to magically get this legislation passed and signed into law.  Once that happens the Wampanoag then need to BEGIN (not resolve some existing application in process) the process of securing lands in trust.  There are nearly 2,000 existing applications already ahead of the Wampanoag’s for this purpose at the Department of the Interior.  Further, the tribe would also need to secure a gaming license with significant regulatory hurdles and requirements, one of which is addressing potentially negative economic impact such a license might have on existing business.  On this one point alone, the Governor of Massachusetts (or Rhode Island or Connecticut for example) would be able to block such a gaming operation if it threatened to take jobs or business away from an existing operation.  This land in trust application and gaming license process at best is a 3-5 year process to resolution – with many tribes not receiving permission and others taking 15 years or more to resolve.

The facts are clear.  Bialecki and the Governor are twisting the facts and manipulating the truth when they make representations to legislators that there is an Indian gaming reality pending for Massachusetts.  In fact, the best way to ensure Massachusetts sees no jobs or economic benefits in the near term from approved gaming is to include a tribal preference.   Indian gaming offers no benefits to the state even if after years of legislative haggling and administrative processes the Wampanoag’s are allowed to build their reservation casino complex.   If this very unlikely series of events happens, then the state cannot regulate or influence what happens on Indian reservations in any manner whatsoever.

1.      The state cannot tax or share in their profits (less money for the state). 

2.      The state cannot secure license fees or sales taxes on slot machines sold (again, less money for the state). 

3.      The state cannot tax liquor, food, clothing, hotel rooms or other items sold on Indian reservation casino shopping malls and resorts (less money for the state, lost tax money from existing business and unfair competition resulting in lost jobs and income for local business). 

Why Governor Patrick and his crack casino team think this is a good outcome for the people of Massachusetts is beyond imagination.  Our elected officials understand that non-competitive special interest carves outs like this are bad for the state.  As we truly cannot believe the Governor and Bialecki are simply ignorant of these facts?  Or are they just lying stooges for their Indian gaming and slot machine industry pals and campaign contributors?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Casino interests trying to pit MA v. NY and frenzy legislators to act on gambling legislation

Localities like Palmer are rushing to hold meetings with prospective casino operators while lobbyists are pushing through local zoning changes in places like New Bedford that will smooth their way to promised treasure troves of gambling wealth.  As the Auburn Citizen reports, “Casino operators last week began pitting both states against each other, saying one cannot afford to let the other go forward with legalized gambling…”  But nobody is stopping to think or evaluate the absurdities and realities associated with these plans.

In New York, Aqueduct operator Genting is lobbying for fast action by the legislature and opposing Indian gaming which it claims would create unfair competition.  At the same time Genting is the money behind Wampanoag plans for a tribal preference and carve out in Massachusetts that is trying to push through legislation requiring non-competitive Indian gaming.  In Massachusetts the Genting-backed tribe is threatening to move forward without the state and “crush the completion” by not paying any taxes, fees or tributes if legislators don’t favor their plans.  The Wampanoag's tactics under new lobbyist Bill Delahunt must be making their former hired gun Jack Abramoff spin in his cell.  In either case this Malaysian gaming syndicate known as Genting wins big and the local communities, states, Indian tribes and federal government will surely lose.

Gaming interests like Genting, David Nunes and their lobbyists are trying to drive local elected officials into a panicked frenzy to see who can beat out his neighbor chasing promises of gambling cash.  They are hoping in this panic that elected officials, plump with campaign contributions from casino lobbyists, will push forward special interest legislation, with carve outs and set-asides that have no real benefits for anyone but these out-of-state, overseas and out-of-reach operators.

Local elected officials are claiming they need to “act fast” and are rushing to the tables to secure deals with the Mohegan tribe in Palmer or the Wampanoag band in Fall River.  What these local officials, indeed the State, do not understand is that any money an Indian tribe agrees to “share” in the end will only be a gift and not a contractually binding guarantee.  In fact, as recently announced in the Duluth v. Fond du Lac Indian case, if such dollars are tied to “revenue” or any percentages associated with the casino business, a Department of Interior decision will make such agreements unenforceable.  Similarly, the State of California is finding deals they cut to limit and share in revenues of Indian slots is being shut down with the Supreme Court ruling Schwarzenegger v. Rincon Indians.  Revenue sharing, you see, infers joint management, control or an ownership stake in the operation which is not allowed under the rules which allow Indian gaming to exist.

But heck, who cares about rules.  At least that’s what the lobbyists and Indian gaming investors seem to want.  Just move fast!  This panic will surely lead to bad deals for the local communities and that is clearly the intention of the gaming interests.  They wouldn't need to be spending tens of millions of dollars lobbying if the only outcomes here were increase jobs and new revenues for the Commonwealth.

Others like Nunes are simply threatening to circumvent any legislative review and balance by pushing forward a ballot measure which will secure his personal rights to be the Commonwealth’s casino czar – a bizarre and absurd abuse of the initiative process.  None of these special interest groups have the interests of the people of Massachusetts in mind; therefore, we must make sure our elected officials do.  Cost-benefit analyses, thorough credible consideration, transparent and open competition MUST be the hallmark of any gaming legislation enacted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fair Bid Process - What a Concept!

Lawmakers fearful of the negative impact that a tribal preference and Indian gaming schemes proposed most recently by David Nunes and part of the ever evolving plots of Cedric Cromwell and Genting.  States News Service is reporting that legislators from Southeastern Mass are lobbying Governor Patrick to abandon his plans to help the slots industry (Doug Rubin) and his Indian campaign lobbyist pals (Bill Delahunt) with special preferences and set-asides in pending gaming legislation.

They know that Indian gaming will bring with it:
  1. Lower revenues for state coffers
  2. Delayed jobs due to required federal legislation and administrative hurdles
  3. Loss of local jurisdiction over law enforcement, zoning and taxes
If the Malaysian gaming giant Genting wants a piece of Massachusetts gambling, let them bid on it against the other developers.  If they win, they can pay taxes, obey local laws and help put Massachusetts back to work.  They don't need a questionable band of Indians with a history of corruption to make billions here.  The slot machine industry will still make hundreds of millions too, just not quite as many, with regulated machines paying license fees and sales tax to the state when sold to Genting or whomever ends up winning fair, open and competitive bids.

As for the Wampanoag, the tribe will be better off without the debt load and ridding themselves of the likes of Cedric Cromwell who will certainly flee the moment casino money promises dry up.  Cromwell, who has more English blood than Native American and only found his Wampanoag roots in the 1980's, is laughably now asserting a a "12,000 year" ancestral "right" run a gaming operation in Massachusetts.  Perhaps he'll take that argument next to his father's native homeland in Nova Scotia and set up his casino there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

David Nunes: One Gambling Addict Massachusetts Can’t Afford

David Nunes with his Crossroads Massachusetts, LLC is the latest player attempting to disrupt the current legislative process to create enabling rules for casino gambling in Massachusetts.  Nunes, an Aspen Colorado resident and developer, is threatening try and game the system with non-competitive slots and preferences for Indian gaming.  He has stretched his Massachusetts connections via Crossroads, LLC lobbying and campaign cash for more than a decade in a desperate attempt to feed a habit of corruption and special preference in his venture to add millions to a personal fortune that is anything but common in the Commonwealth.

Nunes – a purported three-time loser in his attempts to pass casino legislation including special preferences to benefit his narrow interests on the East Coast striking out, most notably, in Rhode Island with mega-partner Donald Trump – is so hooked in trying to cut a deal for his own benefit, he’s spent 13 years trying to game the state.  His lobbying efforts, nearly $100,000 spent in the past three years alone, apparently haven’t paid off sufficiently in spite of tens of thousands in political campaign contributions.  As a result, Nunes is threatening to take his marbles, lose as they may be, and play a different game.  This time dragging the state into a ballot measure process in which only he would be allowed, along with two Indian gaming operations, to open a casino in Massachusetts.

Boldly proclaiming to the Herald, "This is my life insurance policy," Nunes claims he’ll funnel new cash into an initiative process and not let anybody else even compete adding, “If I’m going to spend the money for the initiative, I’m not going to do it so somebody else can win.”   Nunes claims he’ll throw hundreds of thousands of dollars more to gather the thousands of signatures necessary to place his special preference question on the November 2012 ballot.  OK, so will have another year of disruption with some carpet bagging money bags allowed to put a measure on the state ballot that serves no one’s interests other than his own?  Who wouldn’t love to have that kind of dough and gall?

So just who is David Nunes; Why has he spent a fortune, brags he is prepared to spend even more, to support an industry that nearly one-third of Massachusetts residents oppose? Why the special deal for Indian gaming in his brazen and otherwise self-serving ballot tactic?  Send me your dirt, while I start digging.  Somebody this hair brained must have piles under the carpet...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reel Wamps called it - a publicity stunt gone bad

Check out the latest from Reel Wamps as they expose from inside the allegedly illicit dealings of the current cabal behind the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian gaming schemes.  According to Reel Wamps:

  • Raynham was just a publicity stunt to line the pockets of tribal chair Cedric Cromwell
  • There are no (required) recorded records of tribal council meetings since the Cromwell gang took over after previous council chair Glenn Marshall was convicted 
  • Authorities are aware of and looking into election improprieties which brought Cromwell to power
Tough stuff from a fellow member of the tribe.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Indian gaming case opens in Arizona with parallels to Wampanoag schemes in MA

Turtle Talk reports on the opening Ninth Circuit briefs in Gila River Indian Community v. United States (Tohono O’odham Off-Reservation Gaming) revealing yet another local rift caused by Indian gaming. 

This case poses the question whether federal law enables an Indian tribe to buy land within a city, convert that land into a “reservation” and use it to build a massive casino – all without the consent of, and against the wishes of, both the city and State.    Sound crazy?  Well, a current Districe Court decision has held that federal law does authorize this “stunning encroachment on state sovereign prerogative and local control” according to arguments filed by the Arizona city of Glendale.

In this case, much like the schemes currently floating by the Mashpee Wampanoag serving as a front for the Malaysian gaming syndicate Genting, a “shell corporation” was used to purchase land within the city of Glendale.  Does this make you wonder why Cedric Cromwell and his fellow Wampanoag council members have created a separate, private real estate company named First Light Inc  – what “secret” land deals have they concocted which will later turn local communities into Indian gambling reservations free from local law enforcement, zoning and other controls?

In Arizona, the tribe used their secret shell company to purchase lands with the clear intent of later claiming these lands were owned by the tribe for the purposes seeking to have the Department of the Interior convert them to lands in trust.  As reported by ReelWamps, if the Wampanog tribe members don’t know what secret real estate deals Cromwell and his gang have already entered into using their shell company how can the Commonwealth or other local communities deal with them in good faith?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Industry analysts suggest Indian gaming backers of Wampanoag wavering

"The Mashpee project seems to have been something of a diversion for Genting, since its most serious efforts to gain a foothold in the Unites States have been in the state of New York. Its latest and largest effort is the proposed development at Aqueduct which would include both the racino and a major convention center nearby under plans publicly announced by the company." 

So writes legal analysts Dickinson Wright in a recent commentary evaluating Genting's U.S. positioning.  You see, Genting's primary regional investment is with the Aqueduct Racino in New York.  This project is now being threatened by Indian gaming competition.  As such, Genting's opposition in New York, while support for Indian gaming in neighboring Massachusetts becomes a bit of a conflict.  The Dickinson Wright analysts add:

"Genting claimed to have been a great fan of Indian gaming a couple of years ago when it pried the Mashpee casino project away from that tribe's original development partners – a project that appears to be in a state of permanent paralysis. Conversely, the company currently is telling Governor Andrew Cuomo that he must block any Indian gaming in New York. There might be some consistency to Genting's attitude about Indian gaming, but the corporate spokesmen have not yet explained it."

Further, the Genting team recently got to experience the current Wampanoag management savvy up front an personal when the antics of Cedric Cromwell and crew got them unceremoniously booted from the offices of Raynham Park's George Carney.  Some of Genting's shareholders have been unhappy with other "wobbly'" results and the questionable time and money following the Mashpee Wampanoag trail of failed deals cannot be a bright spot at shareholder meetings.  While the real Wampanoag tribe rank and file worry about the tens of millions of dollars in debt Cedric Cromwell is accumulating from his gaming syndicate overlords on the tribe's behalf; those same investors have to be questioning how long they should continue to fund a tribe with such a history of corruption and leadership with questionable credentials.

Perhaps a simple credit check on chairman Cromwell first would have been a good idea before Genting got into bed with the tribe under his leadership.  Conveniently, however for Cedric, the Genting money came to the tribe just in time for Cromwell so he could pay his personal back taxes, defaulted mortgage and past-due utility bills before being forced to move into a wigwam or back in with his mother and brother in the Dorchester family apartment where he grew up.

Good night Raynham: Wampanoag hat trick - another casino deal goes bust

Poor George Carney and the Raynham racetrack are the latest victims in Cedric Cromwell and the Mashpee Wampanoag trail of casino tears.  Carney reportedly has too toss the Wampanoag cabal (including their Malaysian investors) out following a rather unsatisfactory meeting and the hopes of bringing Indian gaming to the town of Raynham have "fizzled" according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.

This makes Raynham the third Southeastern Massachusetts locality to fall victim to the Wampanoag and their Malaysian financial backer's Pyrrhic promises of riches from Indian gaming.  Fall River and Middleboro, now Raynham.  Which Massachusetts town will be next?  Not even uber-lobbyist Bill Delahunt can pull this scheming bunch of nosebleed misfits out of the holes they continually dig for themselves.