Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All's Well That's Cromwell

The following are selections from the written testimony of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell to the House Ways and Means "public" hearing on the current gambling bill. I have included a blow-by-blow translation for further edification.
In 2009, I ran for election as Chairman of my Tribe as part of a reform slate to rid our tribe of corruption...
...but only after an ironclad agreement with the town of Middleboro for a billion dollar casino had already been signed by the aforementioned bearer of "corruption"
and bring transparency and sound business practices to our tribal government.
...For instance, rather than honoring an existing agreement promising a billion dollar casino to the town of Middleboro, I decided to make it more like a million dollar slot parlor with some food service.
When the new leadership took office, we examined all of the decisions that the previous administration made, including the proposal to locate a casino in Middleboro.
Because let's face it... we're never getting land in trust in Middleboro.
We conducted our appropriate due diligence and ultimately concluded that Fall River would be a better location for the Casino.
I mean, why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free.
Today, the Tribe has reached an agreement with the City of Fall River to develop an integrated resort casino on the outskirts of Fall River. If the legislature approves expanded gaming, we intend to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the development which includes a casino, three hotels, convention facilities, a spa, high-end shopping and an indoor waterpark.
... and the Cedric Cromwell Heritage Museum...the Cedric Cromwell Lunar Observatory... the Cedric Cromwell Petting Zoo... the Cedric Cromwell International Monorail...
It will be a destination for the whole family.
Because children and casinos are such a good fit.
We have the strong support of the Mayor of Fall River and broad support in the community, as evidenced by a recent poll that concluded that nearly 2/3rds of Fall River residents support the development.
So hey, let's get this thing moving before an informed opposition has time to develop, OK?

The proposed site in Fall River is well-suited to development in that it is easily accessible from major routes, and has good infrastructure surrounding it. Most importantly however, Fall River is an area that is much in need of the economic stimulus that a resort casino can provide.
AKA "Desperate."
The Tribe also has the financial backing of Arkana Limited, a wholly-owned affiliate of Malaysian investment group Kien Huat. Kien Huat affiliates financed the startups of Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut in 1992 and the Seneca Niagara Casino in New York in 2002. They are a multi-billion dollar organization with vast experience developing and operating resort casinos.
Once again, let's hurry up and pass this gaming bill before this tidbit gets out.
The revenues generated by our proposed destination resort casino will provide for housing, education and health care for our people as well as the diversification of our economic development strategy so that we may better provide for our people.
Yeah, because the millions the Tribe receives each year in tax-free federal aid doesn't cover the cost of my turquoise neckties.
For the city of Fall River, the casino will mean the creation of thousands of construction jobs immediately, and thousands of permanent jobs once the resort is up and operating.
But just so you know, unions are an insult to our sovereignty.
The jobs will be blue collar and white collar jobs in diverse industries including hospitality, gaming, food and beverage etc.
But seriously, mostly blue-collar low-paying part-time jobs.
They are the kinds of jobs that are so desperately needed by the residents of Fall River who are struggling to find work.
Because nothing says "casino" like "desperate".
While on the subject of jobs, I know that much has been said about the likelihood that destination resort casinos could displace workers at the state’s current racetracks, and at the Raynham/Taunton track in particular. With that possibility in mind, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is prepared to offer employment to any worker at the Raynham/Taunton facility who loses their job because of changes in the state’s gaming laws.
Well that solves that problem. Next!
In addition to employment opportunities, the development will also bring much needed revenue to the City of Fall River, to fund education, infrastructure improvements and crime prevention—all critical issues facing the City.
Ironically, the development will also increase class sizes, numerous types of crime and impact existing infrastructure.
Finally, for the Commonwealth, our proposal will mean economic development for a part of the state that is in desperate need.
If you've been counting, that's three times I've said or implied "desperation".

Much has been written and said about the subject of Indian land in trust.
And much of it is total BS written with the intent of expanding the reach of the gambling industry.

Let me briefly explain. Currently, the Mashpee Wampanoag is the only federally recognized tribe in Massachusetts that does not have an initial reservation.
But only because we don't want a reservation unless we can have a casino too.  Frankly, it's a deal breaker.
The Aquinnah Tribe, the other federally recognized tribe, has been granted an initial reservation on Martha’s Vineyard, though they have waived the right to game on that reservation.
Because, unlike us, they were recognized before the Indian casino craze and foolishly chose a reservation unsuited to a casino. LOOOZA!

Presently, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has an application before the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take land into trust as an initial reservation.
That is currently lying at the bottom of a dusty trash bin somewhere within the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Once the land is placed into trust, our Tribe will have certain gaming rights as provided by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA.
But only the same gaming rights that are legal in Massachusetts.

According to IGRA,
By the way, did you know that the acronym IGRA is most commonly assigned to the International Gay Rodeo Association?

federally recognized tribes "have the exclusive right to regulate gaming activity on Indian lands."
Of course, only if that same gaming activity is legal in the state, and if the land has been federally approved or set aside by Congress specifically for gambling purposes, and there is a compact between the State and the Tribe, which, by precedent, the State cannot be forced to enter into.  But you needn't worry your little head over that.

As I am sure you also know, in February 2009, the Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar caused uncertainty as to the federal government’s ability to take land into trust for certain tribes.
After 20 years of wanton land annexation, abuse of sovereignty and expansion of gambling brought about an unfortunate national backlash.

Since then, we, along with hundreds of other tribes from across the country, have been working with the Obama Administration and Congress to end this uncertainty.
Because the Obama Administration and Congress are convinced it will boost their approval ratings to help recognized Indian tribes build casinos on the East coast.

We are very encouraged by legislation introduced in both the US Senate and House to resolve this situation and potential opportunities to fix this administratively.
We like to think of ourselves as a cup-half-full people.

The bottom line is this—once we secure a federal land base, we will inevitably have sovereign rights to game on Indian land.
Actually, the bottom line is that I'm going to say whatever I have to say to confuse you into thinking we can and will have our casino no matter what reality actually is. And let's face it senators, you're pretty easy to confuse. Someone throws the word "casino" out there and it's like cat nip to you people. I could say anything right now and you'd just be sitting there with a dazed look on your face trying to bat an invisible fly. And did you notice how I also managed to fit the word "inevitability" in there. Our marketing studies show that this key word often works even better than "desperate" in influencing casinos legislation.

But we would strongly prefer to work with the state now to adopt a comprehensive approach to statewide gaming that includes the Tribe,
Because we want you to think we're buds

and allows us to negotiate a contract with the State now,
Not that you'll actually be able to enforce it later.
and proceed to put shovels in the ground immediately.
Because remember... you're "desperate!"

We are very encouraged that both versions of the gaming bill currently pending include specific recognition of the special rights we have because we are a federally recognized tribe,
And just because we're special.

and we were very pleased that the Senate bill included provisions related to our proposal in Fall River.
Because if you'll let us build a casino instead of a Bio-Park that's been 10 years in the making, then there is nothing we cannot get you to do.

I am also pleased to have the support of Senator Menard who has been a strong leader not only on this issue, but on all the issues affecting the Tribe and its people.
Not to mention a patron saint of the gambling industry.

Finally, I want to express how excited we are to be working with Mayor Will Flanagan.
Because he's even easier to confuse than you are!

Mayor Flanagan is committed to charting a course for economic growth in Fall River that will bring real relief sooner rather than later.
Which means we can have own sovereign casino nation before you can mispronounce "Wampanoag".  Yay!

He’s in a rush to get his people back to work, and so are we.
We're all desperate!

With the support of our financial backers, we stand ready to put shovels in the ground as soon possible
And then it will only be a matter of time before we take over the world!!!!!

MMMWWwwaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!

We look forward to working with the Commonwealth as it considers expanded gaming and as we move forward with our project.
Notice how we just made you think that our project is actually moving? You people are  WAY too easy!

It will be a great project for the Tribe, a great project for Fall River, and a great project for the Commonwealth.
Pay no attention to that casino behind the curtain.

On behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, I thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony, and look forward to a close working relationship moving forward.
Until you cross us - just once - and then we'll see you in court, baby!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course you probably know this, but Cedric Cromwell does not have the education he says he does on the tribe's site, or his two Linkdin pages (which, by the way differ in terms of where he says he went to school). He does not have a degree of any kind from UMass Amherst or UMass Boston. His resume is totally bogus.

When the commonwealth does its due diligence, the work that should have been done by Fall River before entering into this contract, they will see that Cromwell is uneducated and owes something like $13,000 in back taxes, and never did financial work with Fidelity Investments. He was in IT.

Perhaps this is business as usual. Where I come from it is fraud.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Dear Anon. 12:53,

Interesting. However...

When the commonwealth does its due diligence

Don't you mean "if".

I think it's unlikely. From what I saw and heard at from the House Debates and yesterday's Senate hearing, "due diligence" is a somewhat fluid term.

Anonymous said...

Fall Riverites are not all happy this thing is moving forward as it seems to be....check out page 22 of the Joan Menard proposed bill for 'Gaming" they held the Beacon Hill public hearing for yesterday.

Runors have surfaced for several weeks that Menard wanted one of the top slot jobs (no pun intended)on the gaming commission, each which would pay the equal of the amount paid to the Sec. of Admin. and Finance for MA. The CHAIR would also receive a stipend equalt to 10%, I think, of the salary as well.
They, of course, also get to appoint all of the staff of what will be a huge bureaucracy, sure to be filled with the hacks, patronage hounds and extended family members of every past and present member of the House and Senate, you name it....it will become HOG HEAVENJ, and the way they think up on Beacon Hill, just the kind of sendoff they wiould give Joan Menard for her years of loyal "service" to the Beacon Hill way op doing things. The term of 4 years would make her retirement
80% of $150,000/yr, or a nice neighborhood of$120K/year. That's some nice hood there Joanie!
It's so sad that simple greed is the predictable motivator behind everything people involved with this effort.

Anonymous said...

coincidence the bill was presented by menard in 2009 including the creation of a a gaming commission, how convenient it will be interesting to see who is appointed in return for favors?

http://www.senatormenard.com/press/pr011409.pdf

Middleboro Remembers said...

Gladys,

As a Commonwealth, aren't we fortunate that a Casino Developer, (the one that the Senators allowed to blabber on and on and on, you might remember? More than 20 minutes!)brought an attorney with them who specializes in IGRA and Indian Gaming?

The Senators peppered her with questions because the "Dream Team" (headed by Senator Rosenberg, we are told) are so inept, they wrote legislation without getting the legal opinion of a Gaming Attorney.

Why? Because Senator Menard told them so?

We're going to end up fighting this in Federal Court for years and years at taxpayer expense.

Why are we wasting money printing this 'draft legislation'?

It might as well be written on a napkin!

For those who haven't seen these clowns in action, it's "Ways and Means" - our money ???

If they can't even do the math right, no wonder the budget is such a mess.

What an embarrassment!

Anonymous said...

Gladys,

Who other than senator menard should Fall Riverites contact
to voice their displeasure ?

Middleboro Remembers said...

Gladys,

If I might answer the anonymous poster ???

Having sat through Senator Menard's uninformed testimony, she seems much like Senator Pacheco:

"Don't give me the facts. I know what's best for you."

and like Senator Pacheco, seems to be wasted effort to even attempt to present the facts, but you still need to include those types on your email list to voice your opposition.

There are other Senators and your Reps., as well to whom you can express your opposition.

And who isn't up for re-election?

And don't forget the Governor.

There are numerous discussion forums that are available to voice your opposition.

There are Facebook and Twitter and there are blogs.

Remember: you are the media.

You can write letters to the editor.

You can post comments after articles appearing in local papers.

What I discovered is:

The more you learn about Predatory Gambling, the more you oppose it.

It isn't anything that is being claimed.

It sucks discretionary dollars out of the local economy and destroys the economic job creation of small businesses. Small businesses create 85% of new jobs.

It isn't "new" job creation,merely the 'cannibalization' of existing jobs that will be lost.

It isn't 'revenue' because the cost to taxpayers is $3 for every $1 in tax revenue slots pay to the Commonwealth. (And the revenues are overstated.)

And all of that is before we discuss the cost of Addiction, increased crime, increased traffic, child abandonment, spousal abuse, increased personal bankruptcies, and the ultimate price of gambling addiction - suicide.

How pathetic is it that a state would sponsor an industry that causes increased suicide?

Toyota recalled 8 MILLION vehicles after they caused the deaths of 89 people.

If slots machines cause suicides, shouldn't we recall them?

Anonymous said...

"he does not have a degree of any kind from UMass Amherst or UMass Boston. He resume is totally bogus."
YET HE CLAIMS HE RAN FOR ELECTION "AS CHAIRMAN OF HIS TRIBE AS PART OF A REFORM SLATE TO RID OUR TRIBE OF CORRUPTION"??

SOUNDS LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE THE LAST CHAIRMAN WAS OUTED FOR ALSO MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS, THEN IT GOT WORSE. SHADES OF GLEN MARSHALL. WAIT AND SEE.

Anonymous said...

Other than "fun" for the gambler, I could't find any reasons for any town, city, state, wanting a Casino, and slots, (the worst). Listen up Fall River and legislator's, if it sounds to good to be true, it isin't.

Anonymous said...

Cromwell mentioned a contract with the state and I had a horrible thought:

What if.....

-The state signs a contract with the tribe for a casino.

-Class III is passed in MA

-The bill touting a Carcieri dies in committe, or is voted down in DC.

...will Cromwell go back to Congress and ask them for LIT for gaming,then ask the National Indian Gaming Commission(NIGC)to recognize the tribe's contract with the state as fulfilling the requirement for a compact?????

If you don't think that can happen, take a look at other communities who thought that a federal agency like the NIGC wouldn't have the authority to walk that legal line.

I'm not saying we need to be paraniod, but when Class III is passed in this state, the biggest hurdle in IGRA will have been cleared.

Anything goes after that.

Anonymous said...

Gladys, I have to say, this blog is one of your best.

Easy to read between the lines for those that have heard all of this tribes PR since 2007. Now 2010 and some are still listening? AMAZING!!

Different chruch, same pew.
(different area), (same old tired speech).

Skoorey said...

There is a steering committee meeting of Citizens for the Common Good on Monday, June 14, at the Church of the Holy Spirit on Rock Street in Fall River, at 7 pm.

If you are interested in being active in this fight against predatory gaming in Fall River or the region, please attend.

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