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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Spending bill includes protections for Mashpee tribe




Middleboro Remembers: Regulators want briefing on Mashpee ...



DID YOU EVER NOTICE THAT REP. BILL KEATING NEVER SEEMS TO FIGURE OUT WHERE HIS DISTRICT IS AND NEVER VISITS? 

DID YOU EVER NOTICE THAT IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, REP. BILL KEATING'S OFFICE NEVER CALLS YOU BACK?

DID YOU EVER NOTICE THAT IF YOU SEND AN EMAIL SEEKING A RESPONSE, YOU NEVER HEAR FROM REP. BILL KEATING? 


DURING THE LAST FEW ELECTIONS, REP. BILL KEATING WAS THE ANNOINTED DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR NO GOOD REASON...IT CERTAINLY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS PERFORMANCE?  

YET HERE HE IS..... 

ALONG WITH CONGRESSMAN JOE KENNEDY EVEN THOUGH IS THIS EVEN WITHIN HIS DISTRICT OR SIMPLY BECAUSE HE RUNNING FOR SENATOR EVEN THOUGH KENNEDY HASN'T REPRESENTED ANY OTHER DISTRICT IN THE COMMONWEALTH WHEN SIGNIFICANT ISSUES EXIST? 

WHAT'S WITH THE CURRENT FEDERAL GRAND JURY? WHO'S ASKING? 

GENUFLECTING FOR VOTES!

Why Do Catholics Do That? – Page 3 – St. Matthias Catholic Parish


AND NO ONE ASKS ABOUT GENTING AND IF THESE MATTERS WERE EVER ADDRESSED: 


Genting was the Gambling Investor supporting the Mashpee Wampanoag lifestyle.

Genting Connected to Islamic Extremists? [THIS ARTICLE APPEARED FOR A SINGLE DAY, THE SITE WAS HACKED & WHEN IT WAS RESTORED, THIS ARTICLE HAD BEEN REMOVED. NOT TO WORRY, HACKERS! COPIES HAVE BEEN PRESERVED ON OTHER COMPUTERS.]

The money rush is on. A shady, but well-heeled Asian casino gambling giant swoops into town, buys an outdated office facility and valuable underlying real estate from the Miami Herald and launches a multi-million dollar campaign to approve non-Indian casino gambling in Florida and put a license on the former Miami Herald tract.

Kuala Lumpur-based Genting has multinational operations in tourism, resorts, gambling, plantations, power generation, and oil and gas. Genting’s market capitalization value, or net worth, reached $46 billion at the end of last year — making it one of Malaysia’s largest companies.

The Miami Herald suspends their normally skeptical eye, conducts no due-diligence on their new Chinese friends from Malaysia and their newspaper becomes a public relations machine for a client they don’t even really know.

Every glad-handing semi-corrupt politician in Miami-Dade and the City of Miami with their hand out will be jumping on the Genting gravy train. Genting is a target for every con-man lobbyist/political consultant/PR man which Miami-Dade County abounds with.

Recently a group of “Community Leaders” were flown to South East Asia including visits to Genting casinos in Malaysia and Singapore. Genting refuses to disclose the names of “Community Leaders” – including elected officials – who were flown to South East Asia in a private luxury jet and wined and dined at 5-Star resorts reserved for high-rollers in the Asian gaming world.

World Resorts Genting, also known as Genting Highlands, opened in 1965 and is the company’s flagship resort in Malaysia. The resort features Malaysia’s only land-based casino, six hotels, three theme parks, a convention center, and numerous restaurants and nightclubs, among other attractions.

Resorts World Sentosa, which opened last year in Singapore, features one of the world’s most expensive casinos, six hotels, a Universal Studios theme park and a Marine Life Park, among other features. The Florida Delegation visited both, reportedly racking up more than $790,000 worth of hotel, restaurant, spa and entertainment costs in both 5-Star resorts.

Genting has retained a team of slick lobbyists including Jonathan Kilman, with the law firm of Foley & Lardner. Kilman’s partner, Chris Kise, is under investigation for erasing email records generated during Governor Rick Scott’s Inauguration. The missing emails are thought to contain correspondence exposing the business dealings of Kise and Scott’s political adviser Enu Mainigi. Scott has ordered the FDLE review. Kise insists the emails were erased accidently. Foley and Lardner’s influence in the Governor’s office is not likely to be strong in 2012.


Before it’s over, expect that Genting, their lobbyists, and other retainers, will lavish the Republican Party of Florida and other selected party redistricting vehicles with millions of dollars. They’ll even buy Governor Rick Scott a golden toilet seat for the Governors mansion is he wants!

Genting, the Asian casino giant, does not hold a casino gaming license in any U.S. jurisdiction that has serious regulation. New York State requires relatively little scrutiny in the contract Genting has with the State of New York to operate slot machines at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Genting made millions of dollars as the money-men behind two controversial Indian Casino gaming developments in the Eastern United States. In both cases, Genting operations were directed by G. Michael Brown, a former New Jersey Attorney General who was later charged with embezzlement and cocaine use in the Seneca Tribal Court.

Brown was charged with putting various mistresses on the casino payroll and using casino funds to pay for luxury condominiums, imported sports cars and expensive jewelry for them. Brown famously drove a 4-door sedan owned by the Seneca Tribe through the picture window of a Niagara Falls resident while driving drunk.

Genting was the financier of the Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York. Genting charged the tribe an exorbitant 28 percent interest rate, potentially in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulations under the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Genting also stayed in the deal for almost 15 years when they were legally limited to five. Seneca Tribal Council members have testified that armed Chinese thugs showed up to collect Genting’s money when tribal lawyers pointed out that Genting was violating the law.
All of this became known to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, which held hearings and launched an investigation into corruption in the Indian gaming industry in the United States. But what the Senate Committee found out about Genting was even more disturbing: an apparent pattern of multi-million dollar payments to Islamic extremist organizations in Malaysia who most definitely are not friends of the United States of America.

U.S. Senate Special Committee records regarding Genting and their financing of multiple Islamic-based organizations in Malaysia are classified. Some U.S. Senator needs to launch an investigation to determine whether Genting has relationships that would make their holding a casino license in Miami (a money machine) inappropriate. U.S. Senate staff investigators should get a firm understanding of Genting’s questionable relationships in Malaysia and China.

Genting executives told Senate investigators at the time that the millions of dollars funneled to various Islamic extremist organizations known to finance jihad were made under direst and viewed as a cost of doing business for a Chinese businessman in heavily Islam-run Malaysia. Investigators had reason to be skeptical when photos of K.T. Lim and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il surfaced. The Senate investigators also obtained photos of Lim socializing with at least two Islamic figures wanted by the United States for terrorist activities.
Senate investigators were also interested in K.T. Lim’s relationship with Stanley Ho, the Asian casino magnate who has been identified as a member of the Chinese Triad, the Chinese crime organization, by the U.S. Justice Department and by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Ho has been denied a casino license in every jurisdiction except in Macau and North Korea. Genting has refused to address their business dealings with Ho and his company Shun Tak Holdings Ltd.

While the Miami Herald is telling us that Genting boss K.T. Lim is a brilliant businessman, he could be one of the largest funders of Islamic terrorist activity in Asia. Instead of giving press conferences to the Miami Herald, perhaps K.T. should be interrogated under subpoena by U.S. Senate lawyers.

The Miami-Dade politicians who suck up Genting’s food, drink and accommodations and support Genting’s development will jump off of them like rats when they learn where a substantial portion of Genting’s profits in Florida may be going. Just because Genting has a lot of money doesn’t mean that they are suitable to operate casinos in the United States based on their associations and business practices.

Neither Governor Rick Scott, nor Senate President Mike Haridopolos will agree to casino gaming without a local county referendum. Perhaps Miami’s Cuban voters should decide whether they want to approve a casino for a foreign company who could be financing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Nothing short of full disclosure of all the finances and holdings of Genting should be required under Florida casino regulation. If they deny ties to radical Islam only full disclosure will verify this claim, a protection the public requires.

New Jersey Casino Control law is considered the toughest in the country and is the model for casino regulation in the rest of the country. Nevada’s regulations are similar, but the process in that small state is “more political.” Florida’s casino regulation must not and cannot be lax. We need to know far, far more about Genting and their friends before they get a casino license in Florida.





Spending bill includes protections for Mashpee tribe



By Jessica Hill
Posted Jul 24, 2020

Amendment passed by House would bar federal interference over reservation.
WASHINGTON — The House passed a spending bill Friday that includes an amendment to protect the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and its reservation land.
The amendment approved as part of the measure, a package of four fiscal 2021 appropriations bills, will protect the tribe from “endless litigation” and will fully recognize its tribal lands without interference from the federal government, according to a statement from U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass.
The Senate will consider its own version of the appropriations bill and then work with the House to resolve any differences.
The Interior Department announced in March that it would revoke the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s land-in-trust status, saying the department had no authority in the first place to put the land into trust in 2015. The tribe fought that, and in June a federal judge ordered that the department take a second look at the case and apply certain criteria that could help the tribe qualify for trust status.
“In recent months, the Trump administration has used the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to try to steal the Tribe’s land and define their people out of existence,” Kennedy said in the statement. “This amendment will put an immediate stop to those dangerous efforts.”
Kennedy and U.S. Rep. William Keating, whose congressional district includes the Cape and Islands, introduced the amendment with Reps. Deb Haaland and Lori Trahan. It will prohibit the Interior Department from using money to rescind the original September 2015 Record of Decision that took the tribe’s land into trust, revoke the proclamation recognizing the reservation lands of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe or to annul the determination that the lands are eligible for gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

[Rep. Deb Haaland represents New Mexico's 1st Congressional District.]
“I want to thank Congressman Kennedy and Congressman Bill Keating along with the Mass. delegation for their unwavering support for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe,” Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said. 
Cromwell said the lawmakers understand the tribe’s historical footprint, as it helped establish the country and helped the Pilgrims through their first harsh winters 400 years ago.
“We’re looking for justice around our tribe to ensure our homelands are stabilized so we can continue to prosper and move forward,” Cromwell said. “This amendment is one step closer to helping us keep the integrity and ensure that we have our homelands in Massachusetts. It’s pretty important.”
Kennedy and Keating had introduced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, which passed the House in 2019 and could help the tribe if the Interior Department decides to appeal Judge Paul Friedman’s June decision. That legislation, however, has been stalled in the Senate. Last month, Haaland and Kennedy introduced the Tribal Reservation Pandemic Protection Act to protect reservation lands, but that bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
“The fact that the Tribe of the First Thanksgiving is fighting for federal, tribal recognition should astound everyone,” Keating said in a statement Friday. “This amendment will limit the Trump Administration’s constant efforts to undermine the Tribe’s rights. We all know that for the President, this is about his casino lobbyist friends, but for us and the Tribe, this is about people, their rights, their health, their education, and their livelihoods.”
“This measure ensures that no more nefarious activity from the administration around taking our tribe’s land away could happen,” Cromwell said. “This has to go to the Senate; the House passed this and that’s important.”







Thursday, July 16, 2020

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe served with subpoena for financial records






Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe served with subpoena for financial records

By Jessica Hill
Posted Jul 15, 2020


Attorney says tribe is not the target of grand jury investigation.
MASHPEE — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston served a federal grand jury subpoena to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe last month for a hefty number of documents and financial records.
The news was shared with tribe members during a June 23 Tribal Council meeting.
Wampanoag officials had no comment Wednesday and referred all inquiries to tribal attorney Benjamin Wish.
“The government has informed the Tribe that it is not the target of the pending grand jury investigation,” Wish said in an email. “The Tribe intends to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office concerning the subpoena requests and anticipates that the Tribe will also cooperate with any other proper request for information. The Tribe remains focused on economic development and supporting its members during the ongoing pandemic.”
Tribal officials do not know whom the investigation is targeting, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
By “Tribe,” the subpoena refers to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and its affiliates, including the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority, Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Council and the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council Inc., according to a copy of the June 5 letter that accompanied subpoena from the Justice Department.
The letter, signed by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Wichers, said: “Pursuant to an official investigation being conducted by a federal Grand Jury in the District of Massachusetts of suspected violations of federal criminal law, you are directed to furnish to the Grand Jury the documents described in the attached subpoena.”
The subpoena requests all personnel records for Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell, Treasurer Gordon Harris and former Treasurer Robert T. Hendricks, as well as Mark Harding and Louis Catarina Jr.  
Harding is the founder of WampWorx, a native-owned construction firm in Mashpee, and Catarina is the principal consultant and program manager for Strategic Quality Solutions. Harding and Catarina declined to comment.
In his role for the tribe, Catarina provided “strategic direction” and “management” and coordinated development of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Gaming Authority First Light Resort and Casino project, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also developed and managed operational finances and budgets. Catarina also served as a board member of the Taunton Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Gaming Authority.
Last year, the Times learned that Harris and Hendricks had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, although it was unclear for what reason.
Federal grand jury proceedings are secret, and comprise about two dozen citizens who serve as members for a term of 18 months. They examine documents and hear testimony to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge someone with a crime.
The personnel records requested in the subpoena include job titles, dates of employment, resumes, contracts and agreements, timecards, performance reviews, compensation, disciplinary records and grievances and complaints by or against the people listed. It also requested documentation regarding loans for those five people, including any loan repayment or forgiveness, fringe benefits and perks, and expense reports, according to a copy of the letter.
The subpoena asked for documentation of all payments between the tribe or its financial backer, Genting Malaysia, and those same people listed above between Jan.1, 2014, and April 30, 2020. The subpoena specified direct deposit records, copies of checks, records of cash payments and wire transfers.
The subpoena also requested documents dating back to 2011 relating to the Delahunt Group, as well as documents going back to 2014 for WampWorx and Strategic Quality Solutions. Those documents include emails, records and payments or documentation of work that those organizations performed for the tribe.
The Delahunt Group, which is led by former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, whose district included the Cape and Islands, is a longtime lobbyist for the tribe. The organization, which the tribe hired in 2011, has helped the tribe with its ongoing effort to pass federal legislation that would protect its sovereignty status. It originally helped the tribe pursue gaming and navigate the federal bureaucracies for health care, housing and education for tribe members, Cromwell previously told the Times.
Delahunt did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Finally, the subpoena also requests all agendas and meeting minutes from tribal meetings as well as records relating to any proposed or enacted tribe resolution or policy between January 2014 and April 30, 2020.
Because the tribe is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, there is no deadline to turn over all of the requested documents, the source said.
Elizabeth McCarthy, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, could “neither confirm nor deny investigations,” she said in an email Wednesday.
It remains unclear the specific reasons for the recent subpoena and the connections of the individuals listed.
The tribe has been engaged in a years long legal battle for sovereignty. It had planned to build a $1 billion casino called the First Light Resort and Casino in Taunton, but plans came to a halt when neighbors of the project sued, arguing the tribe had no right to build on its reservation because it did not meet a definition of “Indian” in the Indian Reorganization Act.
With the standstill of the casino, which was projected to bring in $50 million in revenue, the tribe has been struggling with its finances.
Since he became chairman in 2009, Cromwell repeatedly has come under fire for his handling of tribe finances. Some members critical of his administration have called for more transparency. He and Harris had faced allegations from some tribe members who accused them of wrongful conduct in connection with $500 million owed to Genting Malaysia.
In June 2019, a robocall circulated within the tribal community alleging that $250 million handled by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority was unaccounted for. In January 2019, the tribal council had taken a vote of no-confidence and voted to strip Cromwell of his financial responsibilities in connection with the tribe and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority, a five-member board Cromwell is president of that oversees the tribe’s gaming operation.
Last fall, some tribe members sought to recall Cromwell and Harris for alleged malfeasance. The tribe’s Election Committee canceled the election three days before it was to take place.








Sunday, May 24, 2020

Tribe argues land case in U.S. District Court





Image result for REEL WAMPS



Tribe argues land case in U.S. District Court

By Jessica Hill

Posted May20, 2020


A U.S. District judge said Wednesday he could rule in a week to 10 days on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s latest attempt to salvage a $1 billion casino deal with the city of Taunton.
Judge Paul Friedman heard the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Zinke case via teleconference, in which the plaintiff and defendant gave arguments centering on whether the tribe’s land should be removed from trust status, based on whether the tribe was under federal jurisdiction prior to the establishment of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
The tribe, the Department of the Interior and the Littlefields, along with other Taunton neighbors, have been the key players in this yearslong battle over whether the government had the authority to take the land into trust in the first place.
The plaintiff argued that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s order in March to remove the tribe’s land from trust was arbitrary and capricious because he had rejected evidence that other tribes have used to obtain trust land in the past. The defense said the Interior Department’s 2018 decision was thoroughly evaluated and consistent with prior decisions.
The tribe had plans to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton that would bring economic aid to the tribe and the city of Taunton through an intergovernmental agreement. Neighbors of the proposed casino were opposed, however, and filed a lawsuit, arguing that the Interior Department had no authority to take the tribe’s land into trust.
In 2015, the Interior Department took 321 acres in Mashpee and Taunton into trust for the tribe, but under a new administration reversed itself in 2018. The tribe had appealed a district court judge’s ruling in favor of the reversal and lost, and in a separate action it challenged the Interior Department’s reversal.
In late March, the Interior Department informed the tribe it would remove its land from trust status. The tribe asked for the federal court to issue an emergency order that would postpone Bernhardt’s decision. The tribe and the Department of the Interior agreed to a 45-day pause period.
Wednesday’s hearing could determine the future of the tribe’s lands as well as its financial future. Depending on what the judge decides, the Interior Department might have to take a second look at the tribe’s qualification for land-in-trust status. A ruling in favor of the defendant might mean the tribe would lose some of its land or the tax relief that comes with it.
The plaintiff argued that several pieces of evidence show the tribe was clearly under federal authority before 1934, while the defense argued that those pieces of evidence are not explicit or show only state jurisdiction.
The tribe’s lawyer, Tami Lyn Azorsky of Dentons LLP, offered examples such as old census reports to show the tribe was under federal jurisdiction. One element of her argument concerned a federal school in Pennsylvania attended by children of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
From 1879 to 1918, the United States Carlisle Indian Industrial School operated a boarding school that hosted Native American children from around the country, with the goal of assimilating Native Americans into mainstream American culture.
Azorsky said the school took responsibility for every asset of the children’s lives, including medical decisions, without parents’ consent. Because the school was run by the federal government, and members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe attended, this demonstrates the exercise of federal authority, Azorsky argued.
The defendant argued that this evidence was not affirmative of federal jurisdiction. It showed, at most, that the tribe was “under Congress’s linear authority” and was not sufficient, said Sara Costello, federal attorney for the defense.
Azorsky also brought up reports in which the federal government considered taking an action regarding the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and then ultimately decided against it. Because no action was taken, the Interior Department dismissed those reports as evidence.
Azorsky emphasized that action does not determine jurisdiction. She said acknowledgment of responsibility is the standard.
“Isn’t a decision not to do something just as much an action as a decision to do something?” Judge Friedman asked the defense.
“The decision to do nothing does not show that the tribe is under federal jurisdiction,” Costello said.
The plaintiff argued the Bernhardt’s order to remove the tribe’s land from trust was arbitrary and capricious because he had rejected evidence that other tribes have used to obtain trust land in the past. The defense said the Interior Department’s 2018 decision was thoroughly evaluated and consistent with prior decisions.
“The Interior Department thoroughly discussed each piece of evidence and thoroughly explained why it chose to do what it did,” Costello said. “The Interior applied the correct standard for determining the federal jurisdiction, set forth in the M-Opinion.”
The “M-Opinion” is a legal opinion the Department of the Interior had been using to determine whether a tribe was under federal jurisdiction at the time of the Indian Reorganization Act. In March, Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs Daniel H. Jorjani withdrew the opinion, concluding in a March 5 document that the interpretation of the first definition of “Indian” is not consistent with the “ordinary meaning, statutory context, legislative history, or contemporary administrative understanding” of the phrase ’recognized Indian tribe now under federal jurisdiction.”
Jorjani had issued another memorandum that provided a four-step procedure for determining tribal eligibility that would be “more consistent with how Congress and the Department would have understood them” in 1934.
Judge Friedman criticized that change, calling the March 5 document a “joke” and “incomprehensible.”
If the current matter is remanded, Costello said, the tribe’s case will be a pending application, and so the new guidance would apply, Costello said.
“Basically you’re saying, ‘Heads I win, tails you lose,’” Friedman said. “If I remanded to Interior, you want to apply a new guidance to them which makes it harder for them to succeed.”
The new guidelines would not make it harder for the tribe to succeed in keeping its land in trust, Costello argued.
Costello emphasized that if the tribe’s land is taken out of trust, it will still have access to different funding because of its status as a federally recognized tribe. It is still entitled to COVID-19 aid under the CARES Act, as well as other funds regarding social services and transportation.
“That’s not dependent on having land under trust,” Costello said.
If Friedman he were to rule in favor of the Department of the Interior, and the tribe’s land were taken out of trust, the land would return to the previous deed holder, Azorsky said.
The Taunton land would be lost because of the mortgages, she said, and because the tribe has an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Taunton, the city also would be hurt.
“Interior is the federal trustee for the tribe, and Interior has an obligation to protect the tribe,” Azorsky said. “It doesn’t make sense that there is a rush to take this land out of trust. There still has to be an orderly process, and the tribe’s federal trustee rushing to judgment to disestablish this reservation when no procedure has been figured out yet, it doesn’t make sense.”
While the teleconference dropped for listeners near the end of the plaintiff’s rebuttal, the public was able to listen in for most of the hearing.


















Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mashpee Wampanoag behind on payments to Taunton







Mashpee Wampanoag behind on payments to Taunton


By Jessica Hill
Posted May 13, 2020 


Tribal leader denies report that arrears would be made up through bingo hall.
TAUNTON — The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is late with its annual payment of more than $500,000 to the city of Taunton in accordance with the two entities’ intergovernmental agreement, and there is some confusion as to how that payment will be made.
Taunton city councilors were surprised Tuesday night to learn in a letter from the city’s legal department that the tribe planned to pay through revenue it would receive from establishment of a “tribal bingo hall.”
A leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe said he also was surprised.
“There are no plans for a bingo hall or any other financing strategies at this point because the tribe is too busy fighting to protect our ancestral lands against attacks from the Department of Interior during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the City of Taunton and the town of Mashpee and finding ways to support each other.”
The tribe, which owns 150 acres of reservation land close to the intersections of routes 24 and 140 in Taunton, made an agreement with the city in 2012 based on expected revenue from its proposed $1 billion First Light Resort and Casino. The tribe was to pay the city at least $8 million every year once the casino was operating or 2.05% of its net slot revenue.
The casino and resort were projected to bring more than $50 million in revenue to the state and create more than 1,000 permanent jobs as well as 1,000 construction jobs.
As the tribe has been stuck in a legal tug-of-war with neighbors of the proposed casino who oppose the project and with the Interior Department over its land-in-trust status, that casino has yet to come to fruition.
The tribe has been paying Taunton a rate of $27.62 per $1,000 of assessed valuation every year instead of property taxes because of the land’s tax-exempt status, usually totaling a little more than $500,000.
In the past few years the tribe has been sending those payments through a wire transfer from a New York bank. Taunton Treasurer-Collector Barbara Auger previously commended the tribe on its continued commitment to make the payments.
Matthew J. Costa, first assistant city solicitor, wrote in a May 8 letter to the Taunton City Council that payment was due from the tribe in November. The Law Department issued a formal notice March 31 disputing the nonpayment, and the tribe asked for an extension.
That extension was agreed to based on the expectation the tribe would raise revenue through establishment of a tribal bingo hall, according to the letter.
“However, the establishment of a tribal bingo hall has not been realized due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Costa wrote in the letter.
If the tribe does not pay, the city would take action in Superior Court.
Cromwell said he had no idea how the city got the impression the tribe would establish a bingo hall. He also said the tribe would make its payment as part of the agreement, although he would not specify when or how that payment would be made.
“We’re going to pay it,” Cromwell said. “We’re working through it.”
Costa and City Solicitor David Gay could not be reached for additional comment on where they heard about plans for a bingo hall.
“This is the first I heard the possibility of a bingo parlor being on that site,” Taunton City Councilor David Pottier said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Secondly, I find it somewhat incredulous that they’re blaming COVID for not being able to make a payment ... that was due in November when COVID only really took the scene in the last month or so,” Pottier said. “I find their excuse totally inadequate.”