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 possibleAnd then it will only be a matter of time before we take over the world!!!!!
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!