Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just the Tip of the Teepee

Detroit businessman Herbert Strather, who at the time was the primary outside investor in the casino deal, worried in a letter to the tribe that his team would be unable to work with (casino skeptic and candidate for tribal chairwoman Paula) Peters.

McDermott found a way to scuttle her bid.

From "In the seat of Wampanoags' power"
Boston Globe, October 26, 2008

Ok, Strather, we know. But who's this McDermott guy?

Turns out William A. McDermott, Jr. is yet another doughy middle-aged non-Indian at the wheel of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, steering it towards a casino future.

According to the article, McDermott

is not a member of the tribe, nor even a Native American. But the heavy-set, glad-handing Dorchester political operative is arguably the single most powerful figure in the fractured Mashpee Wampanoag government.

He wrote the Mashpee Wampanoag constitution. He engineered the defeat of a hostile tribal council candidate. He even helped banish dissenters from the annual powwow.

And above all, he is using political skills honed in the wards of Boston and Chelsea to keep the tribal government functioning during its quest for a $1 billion resort casino in Middleborough.

OK, let's see if we can keep count here. A guy from Detroit, with some help from a currently incarcerated lobbyist from D.C., aided by a selectman from New York, upon the advice of a lawyer from the Skokie, for the ultimate benefit of a couple of investors from South Africa, under the guise of helping secure a sound financial future for a middle class tribe from Cape Cod, manipulated by a State election specialist from Dorchester wants to bring class III gambling to the Bay State, in the form of the world's largest Indian casino in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

Do I have that right?

Interestingly, one of the commentors to the on-line version of this story states

I have no problem with casinos in the Commonwealth, but I have a big problem with people like Wolman and Kerzner coming into the Commonwealth to masquerade as "successful businessmen," manipulate the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, and perpetrate a massive political fraud on our state and federal government.
Well that's the thing isn't it? Because when casinos enter the picture - when they become part of your State's financial infrastructure - you may as well have schemers like McDermott, and not visionaries like John Adams pen your constitution.

I live in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, a town of 27,000 people, chartered at the very dawn of our nation back in 1656 and which apparently is getting zero say in the decision whether or not to site the world's largest casino directly on our border. In fact, it looks like that decision is being made by everyone but us. By people with not only no historic ties to the land, but with no ties at all to the region. The region that I, and a half million of my closest neighbors call home.

And so if, through an unimagined labyrinth of good intentions, bad legislation and unrestrained avarice, a casino is built in the Southeastern part of our State, in addition to the Mashpee Wampanoag constitution, Mr. McDermott may as well have written the Massachusetts constitution as well.


Carl said...

And what does McDermott have to say about all this, "No comment."

Leave the people out. Secret lives, secret meetings and secret deals. That's the casino backer's life.

Anonymous said...

Of McDermott "...commitment to the tribe is impeccable, without suspicion," said Gayle Andrews, a tribal member and spokeswoman for the tribal council. "He's always there for the tribe."

Could this be the same Gayle Andrews
who couldn't decide which tribe she belonged to until a casino seemed imminent?
Gayle Andrews: Mashpee or Aquinnah?
While Andrews lived and worked in Florida she identified herself as black -- African American -- and she traded on that racial identity exclusively even though she was also a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. At one point -- before the Mashpee had gained federal recognition -- Andrews and her mother applied for membership in the Aquinnah (Gay Head) Wampanoag tribe and were accepted. Andrews surrendered her Mashpee membership. Suspicions arose within the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe over the Andrews' historical material and genealogy submitted in support of their application. A year-long investigation resulted in their expulsion from the tribe.

The more one pays attention to representatives of the tribe the more one questions who's representing the tribe.

Raymond Tolosko said...

Can we all say....


...this tribe is loaded with it. Amelia is trying to out them all and the poor 85 year old keeps getting knocked down time after time.

You know that expression "what doesn't kill ya, just makes you stronger".

Amelia is the epitomy of strength.

More power to her.

carverchick said...

Wow Gladys....great blog! Did you get it right?

Oh yes you did! Who exactly is driving this trainwreck? Casino Investors and interests. In another blog you compared our Town's to a caboose....maybe the Tribe should have been included in that - it seems that the ones in control aren't even members of the Tribe.

Anonymous said...

So this Gayle Andrews "applied" for membership in the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe?
I thought being Native American was a matter of race, not applied for membership.
I've applied for membership in the Boy Scouts when I was a kid, applied for membership to a gym, applied for a BJ's Wholesale Club card. NOW I discover I can apply for membership in a Native American tribe!
Where can I sign up and start getting my share of casino revenues?

Will anyone be surprised to find Whitey Bulger's name surface in all this casino business? With the shady cast of characters and questionable dealings, I'm sure he'd feel right at home.