Sunday, November 4, 2012

More Wampanoag debt, more secrets

The Mashpee Enterprise received copies of "secret" Mashpee Wampanoag tribe financial documents disclosing yet more debt being accumulated by Cedric Cromwell's casino team on behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoag people.  Cedric has borrowed another $13 million from his casino overlords at Genting Malaysia - one of the the worlds largest casino syndicates seeking footholds in the United States.

According to the Enterprise, this brings the current tribal debt owed to Genting in the neighborhood of $40 million (not including interest).  This latest loan was taken out with a near usury rate of 15 percent and increases to 20 percent once Cedric starts borrowing more money (senior debt) to actually build his casino.  While Cedric has kept secret all the financial documents of the tribe - even refusing to share them with his own tribal members on whose behalf he's accumulated these debts - this latest leak of documents gives insight into the mess the Tribe's gotten into under the Cromwell administration.

Now these financial details are all supposed to be fully disclosed to the Massachusetts State Gaming Commission as part of the tribe's compact and casino license agreement under the state law approved by our legislators.  But, like their federal LIT application, the financial details of the tribe are less than transparent and glaringly missing.  And, diligence on the part of the Commission in complying with legislative intent when it comes to the Mashpee Wampanoag appears to be considered an unnecessary distraction from moving forward with this ill-gotten casino scheme.

Since the first $25 million borrowed by Cedric on behalf of the Tribe in 2009 council members, elders and other rank and file have asked what's happened to that money?  The budget for running the tribe has apparently skyrocketed to nearly $5 million per year - although by all accounts what minimal tribal services do exist have gotten worse and allegations of rampant malfeasance with federal grants and funds continues unabated.  This latest leak of documents suggests Cedric spent millions more on the Taunton ballot initiative than reported - nearly $2.6 million - and that money is flowing to Cromwell, lawyers and lobbyists at an unprecedented rate.

If the first $25 million loan has similar terms to the current $13 million, the tribe's debt with compounded interest before taking out the new loan would be $50.3 million.  If a casino is ever built - a big IF given the federal government has now twice rejected Cromwell applications for land in trust (LIT) - the very best possible time frame for even breaking ground (when Cedric has to start borrowing more money) is three more years. Now we've frequently noted that getting LIT approvals from BIA for unconventional applications seeking exemptions from the Carcieri Rule IF successful (the majority are not) take a minimum of seven years, but let's say we (again) give Cedric the benefit of the doubt and say he can get this approved and ready to go within three years.  By the time he breaks ground (and has to borrow another estimated $100 million to build his casino) we'll already owe Genting $96.3 million in principal and interest.  At which point, interest goes up to 20% on that loan.

Let's assume the miraculous again happens and the casino is built in record time without delays and it opens two years after groundbreaking (mind you we're already in 2017), the Genting loan debt will be at $139 million plus the $100 million construction loan (which should cost us about $108 million if we negotiate reasonable construction loan rates) - bringing the tribal debt to almost $250 million BEFORE we open the doors and start cashing in senior citizen's social security checks for chips.

The chances of the tribe EVER being able to catch up to these loans from Genting at 20 percent a year when they have accumulated to the hundreds of millions is NIL.  Each year the balances will grow, and like the casino tribes in Connecticut we'll quickly be in debt in the billions and beyond bankruptcy.  All the while hundreds of millions of Massachusetts casino money - not taxed - will be flowing to the Malaysian bank accounts of Genting.  Again, we must ask how this is possibly in the interest of the Commonwealth, the people and taxpayers of Southeastern Massachusetts or the Mashpee Wampanoag People?

As for Taunton - if a compact deal is ever reached - Mayor Hoye will be waiting forever for his share of profits which will be non-existent under the usurious debt burden accumulated under Cedric's casino scheme.  Cromwell will continue to collect his salary as casino commander in chief (until such time as the feds catch up with him and he takes over Glenn Marshall's old room) and the Tribe and community will be sucked dry by this mess. 

Don't say we didn't tell you so - over, and over, and over...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taunton - we have a problem: BIA rejects Wampanoag casino application, again

Artfully claiming their flawed Casino Compact with the Commonwealth needs to be "renegotiated" Cedric Cromwell has written the faithful followers of his tribal missives today announcing the Bureau for Indian Affairs (BIA)  has a problem with their application.   This is the second time a Cromwell application for Land in Trust has been rejected by BIA and the second time Cedric has failed to "notify" his local government partners.

Taunton - we have a problem and don't say we didn't warn you!  Like his past rejection when his Middleboro partners learned about BIA's ruling from the local papers, Taunton officials can read about it in the Boston Globe as ole Cedric has been apparently sitting on this information until 4 p.m. on a Friday to let the world know and Mayor Hoye and our dutiful council appear to have been caught by surprise by this announcement as well.

This should be the final nail in the coffin for this latest casino scheme as the Mass Gaming Commission can no longer claim the tribe has successfully negotiated a compact with the state and has what it takes to get BIA approval for the required land in trust needed for their Indian casino complex.   We're well past the deadline set by the legislature and it's time to say bye bye Cedric.

Don't say we didn't warn you this would happen (over and over and over).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One little, two little, 2633 little Indians...

Cedric Cromwell's "most recent" application attempt for Land in Trust (LIT) submitted to the Bureau for Indian Affairs makes for amusing reading if you can wade through the typos and gaping holes for "to be submitted" tabs and data.  Of the data submitted one set of the many conflicting pieces of  information that glaringly stands out relates to the Tribe's enrollment.

Now Mashpee Wampanoag enrollment has been a contentious issue among Tribe members ever since Cedric Cromwell  took office and locked down the enrollment office records from view of other Tribes members.  You see, Cedric himself only became an enrolled member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in 2006.  As readers of this and other spaces like Reel Wamps know, Cedric Cromwell's personal credentials for membership qualification are much in question.

One key membership requirement, spelled out in the Tribe's federal recognition application, is that to be a tribe member you must live within 20 miles of Mashpee (Mashpee Ordinance 9/21/2006, 1-2).  Now Cedric grew up in Dorchester and lived in Attleboro (some 50+ miles away from Mashpee) when he found his Indian heritage sufficient to actually enroll as a formal member.  It now appears he's encouraged others to follow suit.

In 2007 when the tribe had to submit formal enrollment numbers for their federal recognition they listed 1,400 members of the Tribe.  Today, just five years hence, Cedric has submitted new enrollment numbers showing more than 2,600 members - an 86 percent increase!  And, to help make their case that the Mashpee band of Wampanoag can lay claims - both historical and current - to distant Taunton in order to build their Indian casino it appears the federally defined membership requirement of living "near Mashpee" (Mashpee Wampanoag federal tribal recognition on pg 26 states that “near Mashpee” means having a residence “within 20 miles of Mashpee”) no longer applies.  

That's certainly a lot of new Indian's in such a short time period. It certainly appears that in addition to "reservation shopping" Cedric Cromwell has been doing some Indian shopping as well to make sure he can fit his square pegged tribe into Taunton's round hole for the purposes of his LIT application.  To make his case that the Tribe has ties to Taunton he claims 2,633 members, but in his residency listing he provides data on only 1,700 - in which at least one new member resides in Taunton.

However, in other parts of his LIT application with the Tribe's detailed claim and enrollment registry of 2,633 members, the Tribe's "need" claims showing they suffer from higher health problems and lower economic opportunities are based on evaluations of fewer than 325 enrolled members. Seems like they're using some highly selective and suspect data to make their case to BIA that they meet the need requirements for being allowed a casino.

So, what is it?  Are there now 2,633 Mashpee Wampanoag's sprinkled throughout the Commonwealth well outside the tribe's own mandated rule of living within 20 miles of Mashpee as claimed in their application?  Are there 1,708 as listed in their application "Massachusetts Residency Data" section?  Or are there 324 members referenced in their "Health Status" needs claim section? Or the 399 members used to generate their median income needs assessment?

They say numbers don't lie.  But it appears the Mashpee Wampanoag just might - and their numbers simply don't add up.  Good luck collecting any shared revenue if  Taunton's Wampa Word casino uses these same accounting methods.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cromwell trades away "12,000 years" of tradition

Reel Wamps spells out the latest conflict within the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.  Cedric Cromwell, famous for proclaiming 12,000 years of Wampanoag historical rights to run a casino has negotiated away the Tribe's long-standing fishing rights in pursuit of gambling cash in his Compact with Governor Deval Patrick.  Future generations of Mashpee Wampanoag will be able to point to their defining culture of being casino cocktail waitresses and leave the messy fisher folk heritage to the fading memories of tribal elders.

How proud this will make the People of the First Light as they troll for tips instead of herring, trading fishing poles and nets for fishnet stockings and pole dancing at the proposed Taunton WampaWorld resort.

Worth the read into the sad state of affairs and dark path the true Mashpee people are being led down by Cromwell and his Malaysian gambling syndicate financial backers.  Click here to read how Cedric Cromwell has sold the soul of the People of the First Light.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is the Genting Wampanoag Taunton casino marriage on the rocks?

We all knew this was a shotgun wedding anyway, so this should be no surprise.  But, according to Reel Wamps, word is out in Mashpee - the rocky marriage between the Mashpee Wampanoag and their financiers -  Malaysian gambling syndicate Genting - may be heading for divorce court.  And Genting may be heading North to Suffolk Downs, greener pastures and a more competent partner for their gaming plans in the Bay State.

Reel Wamps tells us that Genting has informed Cedric Cromwell and the Mashpee Wampanoag Council that they are exploring options elsewhere in Massachusetts.  The reason, according to Reel Wamps, is incompetence and inability of the Council to execute the simplest of plans that complies with the law. As a result, Cromwell and crew are scrambling and the July 31st deadline for demonstrating they can pull this off AND get federal approval isn't looking good.

In addition to demonstrating that they can get land in trust in Taunton, the Tribe's compact with the state requires that they divulge and detail their financial obligations - rumored to be in the tens of millions already to Genting - and plans to finance their casino project in Taunton.  Without Genting money Taunton's Wampa World casino hasn't much hope unless Trusting Tom Hoye has a few hundred million lying about to invest.

This is one worth reading directly from the source: