Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe chairman Cedric Cromwell has cut a deal for an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Mayor Tom Hoye and the City of Taunton which, if signed by Mayor Hoye on May 17, 2012 as noted on the document, places the City in the odd position of having to support an Indian reservation casino in the City regardless of whether or not the town votes in favor of this casino. If anyone, including the City, decides to oppose the Tribe's casino plans:
- Section 18.B of the IGA states, “The City shall assist the Tribe in responding to negative comments about the Project, reiterating the City’s support…”
- Section 18.C obligates the City to help
defend the Tribe in any litigation which challenges the Tribe’s required
approvals by the City, State or federal for gaming and the related Wampanoag application for land-in-trust.
- Section 18.D requires that the City “prepare and forward letters of support for the Trust application and Compact…” to the Department of the Interior, Governor and members of the State Legislature as directed by the Tribe.
If signed now, this IGA will simply circumvent the need for any voter input – which was already noted to be non-binding – and violates the underlying requirements set-forth in the casino gaming legislation enacted by the Commonwealth last year. Further, this IGA calls for the City to support the Wampanoag Tribe’s federal application for land-in-trust (LIT) in Taunton – without ever seeing the application or what’s included therein because the Tribe refuses to make its alleged revised application available to the public (or even to Tribe members). And, it calls for the City to enlist the support of its elected legislators and governor in support of a State Gaming Compact it has never seen – even the State Gaming Commission hasn’t seen this compact reportedly drafted by Governor Patrick’s casino man Stan McGee.
Support for this IGA now completely discounts the will of the voters of Taunton while agreeing to support state compacts and federal applications (including in court) which the City has never even seen. Mayor Hoye has called special meeting of the Taunton Municipal Council to review the IGA on Thursday, May 24th – a full two weeks prior to the scheduled City referenda asking voters for their view of the proposed project. No wonder the election is “non-binding!” Talk about selling-out the voters and taxpayers…
The IGA is so bad it appears even the City’s own website has rejected it – or perhaps the Mayor has simply removed it after townspeople’s scrutiny have revealed so many flaws.