Monday, August 31, 2009


Foxwoods Seeks ‘Mutually Beneficial’ Restructuring (Update1)

By Beth Jinks

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The owner of the Foxwoods Resort Casino said it’s seeking “a mutually beneficial” solution to the proposed restructuring of at least $1.45 billion of debt, backing away from earlier reported comments suggesting lenders may go unpaid.

“Like any other restructuring, the tribe is looking at all its options and there’s no plan at this time,” a spokesman for the Mashantucket Western Pequot Tribal Nation said today. “Through the process, the tribe will be pursuing a mutually beneficial resolution with its banks and bondholders. We’ve always had a favorable relationship with our lenders and we look forward to working with them on a solution that works for all.”

Michael Thomas, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council leader who is seeking re-election as chairman, told tribal members they would be paid before banks or bondholders, the Day newspaper of New London, Connecticut, reported on Aug. 26. The paper cited an e-mail from Thomas sent to members. New London is about 14 miles from Foxwoods, which is located on tribal land in the southeastern Connecticut town of Ledyard.

That same day, the Foxwoods owner announced the proposed restructuring and said it had hired Miller Buckfire & Co., a New York investment bank, and the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP as advisers. The news prompted Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s to cut their ratings on the tribe’s debt by four notches. A default be the biggest to date by any tribal casino company.

MGM Grand Hotel

Foxwoods, among the largest casinos in the U.S. by gambling space, has lost business to the recession and competition from new casinos and racetracks with slot machine-style video-lottery terminals in nearby states. Slot revenue fell 13 percent in July, the casino said on Aug. 14.

It has three hotels and six casinos with more than 7,200 slots and 380 table games. The Mashantucket Pequots, described as native Algonquins, receive income from the earnings. Mashantucket opened a casino and hotel under the MGM Grand brand in May 2008, just as the recession began to hurt gambling revenue.

“They borrowed a fair amount of capital to build the MGM Grand and the MGM Grand didn’t come close to what they were hoping for in returns on investment,” said Dennis Farrell, a debt analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. “With the weakness in the overall market when they have amortizing debt coming due, they need to handle that and they’re obviously going to have a difficult time.”

Malaysian Ties

Mashantucket has a $700 million revolver loan due in July 2010, $500 million in 8.5 percent bonds that mature in 2015 and $250 million of 5.912 percent bonds due in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It also owes money to Kien Huat, a Malaysian investment company owned by the family that controls the Genting Bhd. Group. Kien Huat initially helped finance Foxwoods and holds a loan with about $21.2 million principal remaining that requires the tribe to pay it a portion of casino revenue.

The tribe also owed $685.2 million in special revenue obligations and $375.1 million in subordinated special revenue obligations as of June 30, 2007, according to prospectus documents from the tribe’s most recent bond sale.

Native American casinos on tribal land don’t pay federal income tax. They usually pay a slot-machine tax to the state government. In Connecticut, tribes pay the state 25 percent of their slot winnings, and no taxes on table betting or other revenue.

To contact the reporter on this story: Beth Jinks in New York at

Last Updated: August 28, 2009 16:12 EDT

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; According to the article, the Mashantucket Pequots debt on their casinos in South Eastern Connecticut is at least about $1.45 Billion ($1,450,000.000.00).

Think about the debt of the Mohegan Tribe's Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut? It is allegedly between $1.2 Billion and $1.6 Billion.

Hello? Are we (the Mohegan Tribe) going to restructure, too? Has the present Tribal Council got us (the Mohegan Tribe) in this mess?

Some tribal members believe it is the MTGA's fault. What do you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Uncasville, Connecticut, August 30, 2009.......according to the Feather News, the Tribal Council election was won by Lynn Malerba, Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, James Gessner, William Quidgeon, and newcomer Kathy Regan-Pyne.

The top voter getter was Lynn Malerba. Will she now become the new Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman?

Did the Mohegan Tribe, when they voted, get it right? Are we (the Mohegan Tribe) in for more years of mismanagement?

Look what is happening at the Mashantucket Pequots with an estimated debt of about $2.4 Billion. What is going to happen to the Mohegans with a debt estimated at $1.6 Billion?

We wish Kathy Regan-Pyne well, in her new position. Good Job.

Hopefully, the Mohegan Tribe voted right. Only time will tell. We wish the winners, our congratulations. Hopefully things will turn out okay, for the Mohegan Tribe.

Four more years of the present management? Is it a good or bad thing? What do you think?



Upscale Aims Of MGM Grand Termed Mistake
But Foxwoods adviser says finances would be worse minus new facility

By Brian Hallenbeck , Patricia Daddona Published on 8/30/2009

Mashantucket - From the start, MGM Grand at Foxwoods had people shaking their heads, and not just in awe of its glitz, its style, its unabashed embrace of youthful excess.

There was the timing, too, charging as it did right into the open jaws of a recession. How long, some wondered, before the iconic lion on the Las Vegas brand's logo turned tail?

Now, 15 months after the hotel tower's May 17, 2008, opening, the wondering has grown more acute.

In interviews last week with The Day, a senior adviser to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand, said the marketing of MGM Grand to upscale clientele has been a mistake and that the tribe's relationship with MGM Mirage, the gaming giant whose brand the tribe adopted, is “tenuous.”

According to the adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the tribe could default this week on the terms of a $700 million line of credit and is seeking to restructure a total of $2.3 billion in debt.

Still, the adviser said, “If we didn't do the deal with MGM we'd be in worse shape.”

The $1 billion MGM Grand, with its 825 hotel rooms, 4,000-seat theater and 21,000-square-foot spa, enabled Foxwoods to maintain its traffic count and secure a greater share of the market before the market tanked, the adviser said.

”Did we spend too much on it? Yeah, probably,” he said.

What benefit the tribe derives from the licensing agreement that allows it to display the MGM Grand name - at a cost of several million dollars a year - is anybody's guess. “We don't get a benefit from it,” the senior adviser said flatly. “A year from now, it wouldn't surprise me if there was a different name on it (the tower).”

A Las Vegas-based spokesman for MGM Mirage, which also has been battered by the recession, said last week the company's relationship with the tribe “is going well” and that there have been no changes in the agreement. Nor has notice of any alterations been filed with the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue, which oversees state gaming, said Executive Director Paul Young.

”MGM Grand at Foxwoods was a very attractive product from a business standpoint,” Gordon Absher, MGM Mirage's vice president of public affairs, said. “It was an attempt by Foxwoods to develop a new product in an already successful market. For our company, it was an opportunity to establish the MGM Grand brand on the East Coast and associate it with another well-established gaming company.

”We were very happy with the execution of the product and, barring the economic downturn, believe MGM Grand at Foxwoods had the potential not only to meet, but exceed our expectations.”

MGM Mirage's alliance with the tribe and its development arm, the Foxwoods Development Co., also included the formation of Unity Gaming, a partnership that would pursue gaming opportunities in other markets. Economic conditions, including the credit crunch, have stymied Unity, Absher said.

Despite adding about 1,400 slot machines to the more than 6,200 in place at Foxwoods, MGM Grand's presence has not kept the tribe from experiencing sharp declines in slot-machine revenues. In July, the casinos reported “winning” $63.3 million at their slots, the most of any month this calendar year but 13 percent less than July 2008. In June, the total was down 9 percent over the previous June and in May it was down 14 percent.

The Foxwoods casinos' slots held their own in February, March and April, bucking the industry-wide trend. However, its win continues to lag behind that of Mohegan Sun, its neighboring competition. Mohegan Sun's July slots win was $69.1 million. And it was achieved at 6,749 machines, more than 800 fewer than operated by Foxwoods and MGM Grand combined.

Slots, of course, aren't the only revenue producers at “destination” resorts. But they're certainly among the ones most affected by the tourniquet the recession has applied to discretionary spending. The convention and hotel businesses have also taken huge hits, industry analysts say.

“For casinos, it's actually the big destination resorts such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Foxwoods that have been the hardest hit,” Clyde Barrow, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at

UMass Dartmouth, said. “Hotels, conference centers - those are exactly the type of discretionary expenditures that people cut back on in a recession. In other places, you've seen a lot of slot parlors and racinos do OK, which is consistent with the 'staycation' approach.

”They just got caught flat-footed opening in what we now know is the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Barrow said of the Mashantuckets. “You couldn't have picked a worse time to open any business. … I think it was part of a grand plan that made sense at the time. The tribe thought MGM would insulate them from competition or scare it off, and it didn't succeed.”

Michael Pollock, publisher of the Gaming Industry Observer newsletter, holds out hope that MGM Grand will still be a major asset to the tribe once the economy recovers. “This recession will eventually end, and when it ends and the regional and national economies return to something normal, that project will do what it was originally intended to do, which was broaden the visitor base, bring in conferences and bring in a higher level of business,” he said.

Barrow, too, saw some hope on the horizon. “There's no doubt in my mind you're going to see the destination resort casino market come back because it's dependent on discretionary expenditures, so it's going to follow the overall economy,” he said. “But I don't think you'll see that before the second half of 2010, maybe even 2011.”

What's not clear is how the Mashantuckets will weather the storm in the interim.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Could the same thing have happened to the Mohegan Sun with the expansion of the planned (PROJECT HORIZON) Earth Hotel?

Was the Mohegan Tribal Council on the same path as the MGM Grand at Foxwoods?

It is alleged that the present Mohegan Tribal Council still have plans to finish this project. The rumor is as soon as the loan market loosens up, the Mohegan Tribal Council want to continue. Are they over building? Will the economy ever justify building this hotel? Do tribal members want this to happen?

Rumor has it, that the Tribal councilors are eager to finish the Government Community Center that is now shrink wrapped. People are calling it the "White Elephant." Could this be another example of the Tribal council not listening to its people?

what about the horrific debt of the Mashantucket Pequots? What about the horrific debt of the Mohegan Tribe? Who put us in this financial condition?

Mohegans look out, what is happening with the Mashantuckets, in my opinion under the current leadership, will probably happen to us. What do you think?


A new reality for tribal voters

By David Collins Published on 8/28/2009

Dear Mashantucket Pequot members:

As you certainly know by now, it's election season on the reservation, and Chairman Michael Thomas appears to making the run of his life.

Thomas, who recklessly ran his own financial ship aground, borrowing $5 million from Sovereign Bank and then refusing to pay it back, has also been busy during his tenure as chairman putting the tribe in financial peril.

Now it's true that Thomas inherited what his advisers have cleverly dubbed “legacy debt,” leftover from the big spending era of Chairman Richard “Skip” Hayward, who built, among other things, a money-losing museum and a shipyard that launched only two boats before it went out of business.

And it was Hayward who signed the sketchy loan deal with Malaysian investors that put up the original millions for Foxwoods but saddled the tribe with an ongoing obligation that is surely contributing to the current financial quagmire.

In return for the startup money, the Malaysians secured 9.9 percent of the casino's adjusted gross revenue through 2016. It's was the sweet deal that just keeps on giving.

The deal with the Malaysians was brokered by Hayward's friend, G. Michael Brown, a lawyer who at different times represented both the Malaysians and the Mashantuckets.

Brown is still working with the Malaysians and their company, Kien Haut Realty, most recently in an investment in the Monticello Casino & Raceway in New York, 90 miles from midtown Manhattan, just one of the new venues putting future earnings at Foxwoods at risk.

Brown led a search for lenders at the time of the start of the Pequots' casino project and chose his own clients after reporting that he could find no American banks that would lend the money.

This was a little like when Dick Cheney led the search for George Bush's vice president, and then picked himself.

But can Michael Thomas blame all the tribe's financial woes on Skip Hayward, who retired more than five years ago? Of course not.

Thomas has proven to be perhaps an even bigger spender. One could argue that at least the casino expansions that Hayward engineered captured a growing segment of the market and made sense.

Thomas, on the other hand, was the principal author of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods project, a $1 billion flop that has failed to ring up even one new dollar in slot machine revenue.

Thomas also presided over the building of a $67 million highway to nowhere out in front of Foxwoods, an elaborate widening of Route 2 that even highway-hungry state traffic planners were ambivalent about building.

Then there was the careless spending, like the Quixotic venture to open a Philadelphia casino or the $12 million the tribe donated to the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, to name a part of the facility after Thomas' grandmother.

What should worry you most, though, is the chairman's apparent disregard for either his own or the tribe's credibility in the credit markets.

One of his answers to the continuing collection lawsuit against him brought by Sovereign Bank was the incredible assertion that the money they lent him was a bribe, because they wanted tribal business, and therefore he doesn't have to pay it back.

Now apparently he is prepared to tell the tribe's lenders that he's not going to pay them back all the money they're owed either, presumably because it is more important, in this election year, that he promise you that your incentive checks won't be cut.

Thomas is a reformed drug dealer who in recent years has been associating in his private deals with some of Connecticut's biggest marquee criminals, people who have served substantial jail time in elaborate white collar crimes. Now he seems to be practicing thug business management.

Not only is Thomas' pledge to you shortsighted, but it's a promise that can't hold water much beyond an election.

The lenders will unlikely sit by and take less than they are owed while handsome dividends are paid out to shareholders, even if the bank's only resort is to turn to some sort of tortured bankruptcy.

Now is the time to accept the new reality that all tribal members are going to have to make sacrifices to save the long-term viability of the business and its ability to borrow money and reinvest in its future.

Vote no to deadbeat politics.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The Mashantuckets made a bad deal with their investors, just like the Mohegan Tribal Government made a bad deal with their original investors.

Maybe the current Mohegan Tribal Council didn't make the deal, but have they done anything to pay down the tribe's debt? Could the problems that are happening to the Mashantucket Pequots happen to the Mohegans?

Will David Collins, talk about the Tribal Council and the Council of Elders of the Mohegan Tribe using the legal tactic of Superintending? Did the Mohegan Tribal Government abuse it's authority? What do you think?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


3 smoke shops on Mastic Indian reservation raided
August 27, 2009 By MARK HARRINGTON

Law enforcement authorities raided three smoke shops on the Poospatuck Indian reservation in Mastic, confiscating 300 cartons of what Philip Morris Co. alleged were counterfeit cigarettes, officials said Thursday.

No arrests were made during the Wednesday raid, carried out after U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler granted Philip Morris' request for a seizure order, according to a copy of the previously sealed order provided by Philip Morris. A hearing on a temporary retraining order is set for Sept. 3.

The seizure coincided with a Manhattan federal judge's ruling Wednesday in a suit filed by New York City that barred Poospatuck smoke shops from selling untaxed cigarettes to nontribal members.

Fears of another raid Thursday pervaded the cluster of smoke shops on the reservation's main road, where signs for "lowest-priced" cigarettes vied for attention. Many of the 40 or so shops are in trailers, sheds or homes.

Poospatuck chief and tribal lawyer Harry Wallace charged the crackdown and lawsuits were part of a larger pattern of discrimination against the tribe, which last year filed suit against government agencies alleging discrimination.

"For whatever reason, the strategy is to pick on us," he said.

Wallace said the tribe would "vociferously appeal" the Manhattan judge's ruling barring sales to nonmembers - an order that he suggested, if enforced, would unlawfully force cigarette sellers to "start tagging and identifying [customers] by race."

David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris, said "fake" Marlboro cigarettes are often made in unauthorized Chinese factories using "processes and tobacco and non-tobacco materials that are not familiar to us."

Wallace said few Poospatuck shops even carry Marlboro cigarettes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Tampa Bay Rays University of California Berkeley Nancy Garrido Philip Morris filed the civil suit Tuesday in federal court in Central Islip against three smoke shops and individual shop owners in connection with the alleged counterfeiting. The shops named in the suit were Smoking Arrow Smoke Shop, Belle Belle Smoke Shop and Flying Arrows Smoke Shop, all on the reservation.Clerks at Smoking Arrow and Flying Arrows declined to comment. Belle Belle was closed.

Wallace suggested a link between the seizure at the reservation and the Manhattan judge's ruling, and claimed the tribe was being unfairly blamed in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-smoking campaign. "I'm surprised the tribe is not being blamed for global warming," he said.

With Andrew Strickler

and Robert E. Kessler

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; Cigarettes cause global warming, who knew? When New York City is charging up to $11.00 a pack for cigarettes, why wouldn't people by cigarettes from the tribe? This is a serious case of government interfering with a tribe. What do you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009


Tribal tribulations August 23, 2009 2:00 AM

MASHPEE — New leaders might control the daily operations of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, but the same old complaints fester.

Outspoken opponents of Chairman Cedric Cromwell and his administration have called for a tribal meeting today. They are seeking information about tribe finances and a quickly dissolving deal with casino investors.

It has been six months since Cromwell took over the tribe, which had been tainted by a scandal involving its former chairman and secretive deals. In January, Cromwell and his supporters used a similar meeting to seek answers about the money coming into tribe coffers. Since Cromwell was elected in February, that money has stopped flowing as the tribe has severed its ties with consultants while challenging investors. In June, the tribal council voted unanimously not to reaffirm the tribe's agreement with investors, and since then has been locked in a stalemate.

Casino moguls Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman have stopped payments to the tribe. That money was used to pay the administration's operating expenses and pursuit of a casino in Middleboro.

Consultants providing legal, lobbying and public relations services were paid $2.2 million by investors, according to internal financial records for fiscal 2008. In total, the casino investors provided $4 million for the tribe's budget, including nearly

$1 million for pay and benefits of tribal council officers and staff.

But in recent weeks, the investors also have declined to pay an environmental engineering firm that was hired to survey the 539 acres proposed for the Middleboro casino. Cromwell would not say how much the firm is now owed. That leaves the application to put the land into federal trust on hold. It is just one of many hurdles the tribe is facing in its bid to bring expanded gambling to Massachusetts.

Tribe members have been informed about the tribe's ailing finances and its rocky relationship with investors, Cromwell said. But he promised to update that information at today's meeting.

During a press conference two weeks ago at the Old Indian Cemetery, at least 25 members of the 1,500-member tribe gathered to complain about the election and changes made by the new administration, according to The Mashpee Enterprise.

Many of those attending were on the tribal council previously or held high-ranking positions in the tribe. They included Gayle Andrews, a former tribe spokeswoman who left after the February election, and Patricia Oakley, who was a tribe genealogist before she was fired. Those same tribe members repeatedly declined to speak with Cape Cod Times reporters before and after the Old Indian Cemetery press conference.

Although he disagrees with issues raised by those tribe members, Cromwell said they have a right to question their leaders.

"I do believe in freedom of speech, but the commitment that I have to the tribe is we have to unify," he said.

Unity has been difficult for the tribe to achieve.

In the weeks that followed Cromwell's election, an anonymous blog appeared, called Reel Wamps, that takes shots at his leadership.

As in most governments, Cromwell acknowledged there are always opponents to new leadership.

"There are certainly a lot of folks that weren't part of that change," Cromwell said of those who don't agree with his platform.

"They have a voice."

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Saturday, August 22, 2009 1:00 PM EDT

Casino reports another losing quarter

By Christopher Michel
Special to the Olean Times Herald

SALAMANCA - While the United States is making headway toward ending the recession, the powerhouse of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ economy still seems to feel the effects of these difficult financial times.

In Seneca Gaming Corp.’s most recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the corporation reported a loss of $82.7 million. The multi-million-dollar losses are part of even bigger write-offs from delayed construction projects, and financial hardships facing many of its customers.

Catherine Walker, chief operating officer for the corporation, said some of the loss “comes from an impairment charge. That is a non-cash charge for delays in our construction projects,” she said. “It’s money that has already been spent, but because of the delays, we had to write it off for accounting reasons.”

Compared to gaming revenues from the same quarter last year, the corporation’s earnings have decreased at two of its three casinos in the most recent quarter, which ended June 30.

According to the SEC filing, the Seneca Niagara Casino lost $12.6 million and the Seneca Allegany Casino lost $4.5 million. The Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, however, increased its gaming revenues by $1.6 million.

Corporation officials attribute the loss in gaming revenues to the recession and the reduced consumer demand in gaming and entertainment offered at each gambling venue.

The corporation’s SEC filing also stated the gaming corporation’s hold on construction of an additional 200-room hotel at the Allegany facility is still in effect. Similar to the loss in gaming revenues, the corporation cited the recession, inability to obtain construction financing at reasonable interest rates and operating costs as the reasons for the continued delay.

As of the end of the last quarter, the corporation reports spending $18.2 million on the Seneca Allegany expansion project in its current phase of construction.

Corporation officials also stated in the filing there are no immediate plans to resume construction.

Although the report doesn’t paint an entirely positive picture of the corporation’s performance in the last quarter, officials did have some good news for the future of the Buffalo Creek facility.

Like the construction project at the Seneca Allegany Casino, the construction of the permanent casino on the 3-acre parcel of land at Buffalo Creek is still on hold. However, the gaming corporation reported taking a $9 million unsecured loan for the purchase of 250 slot machines. The purchase of the new machines will bring the total number of slot machines available at the facility to nearly 500.

But even in the wake of the substantial losses, Ms. Walker said the company is still on sound financial ground.

“The company is still doing very well, even in this recession. We continue to look forward to improvement in the economy and good results from our properties,” she said. “Our team continues to work every day to make our properties better and improve our operations for our customers.”

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; The same kinds of things that are happening at the Mohegan Sun Casino are also happening in other parts of the United States. the Senecas are a prime example of this. Is part of what is happening at the Mohegan Sun partly to blame of the Mohegan Tribal council? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Most of the Mohegan Tribal Voters, have or are about to receive their ballots for the five (5) positions on the Tribal Council. When you vote, you should look at the present Tribal Councilors voting record, and the histories of the possible future tribal councilors.

Here is the voting record of the five (5) Tribal Councilors, who are running for re-election. Their record, in my opinion, ir really not very good. Take a look.

Who voted for the first Freedom of Information Ordinance? The ordinance, gave the Chief Operating Officer, (Phil Cahill), ten (10) days to decide, if he wanted to give you information, and then seven (7) days to provide, it after the ten days considering it. It violated the Mohegan Constitutin because under the Petitioning section, we (the Mohegan Tribe) has seven (7) days to petition against a bad law. The Tribal Councilors who voted for the ordinace were Lynn Malerba, Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, William Quidgeon and James Gessner. The only Tribal Councilor who got it right on this vote was Mark Hamilton.

Who voted for the Government Community Center, that the Mohegan Tribe couldn't afford and didn't want? Who builds a government building, when the govern"ment can't pay for it? Where did the tribe get the money to pay for the work that was done before it was stopped? The Tribal Councilors who voted to build it were: Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, Lynn Malerba, William Quidgeon and James Gessner. The one Tribal Councilor, who got it right was Mark Hamilton.

Who voted for the pernament facility at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs? A project, in my opinion, has never made money? The Tribal Councilors who voted for it were Lynn Malerba, Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, William Quidgeon and James Gessner. Who voted against it? Mark Hamilton.

Who voted for the %935 million "Project Horizson"? The answer, the entire TRibal Council. They all got it wrong. We sepent over an estimate $300 million for what the Casino of the Wind and a new Winter Entrance, several parking lots, new entrance ramps on to Route 2-A and on to I-395. What about a hole in the ground where the hotel was supposed to be? And how is business? What have we got out of this deal? Were we trying to keep up with Jones (Foxwoods)?

Who accrding to newpaper accounts, in Connecticut, theatened to withold revenue, (slot money) to the state? Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum.

Who voted, to accept the PUT, (the possible buy back) from Penn National? The people who sold us, Pocono Downs? Oh again, Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, Lynn Malerba, William Quidgeon and James Gessner. Did Mark Hamilton? No he didn't.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Union man charged with sexual assault at Foxwoods.

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 19, 2009 @ 11:39 PM


Mashantucket, Conn. — .Police arrested a Union man Tuesday who they said inappropriately touched a 28-year-old woman last month at a bar at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Adnan Baglan, 41, of 723 Buckley Highway in Union was arrested by warrant at his place of employment and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and breach of peace.

On July 11, police said Baglan grabbed a woman while at the Scorpion Bar. He was escorted out of the bar, but fled before police arrived, police said. He was identified by Foxwoods security staff.

Baglan was held on a $25,000 bond and scheduled to appear Wednesday in New London Superior Court.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; The man evidently from Union, Connecticut, didn't realize that there were cameras in the casino an the parking garages? There are cameras everywhere.

No one should abuse or disrespect or touch anyone, especially women. Could being under the influence of alcohol have something to do with this?


Monday, August 24, 2009


By Jim Marino, Contributing Write

Before the advent of Indian gambling casinos and the profits which enabled federally acknowledged Indian tribes to enter the world of big business, few people had ever heard of tribal sovereignty.

Generally the old European and international concept of sovereignty was associated with “nation states,” countries that saw their people and territory as having to answer to no other sovereign nation in their affairs.

Since the United States became a sovereign independent nation, it has exercised plenary power over all Indian tribes.

In the early days, there were only a few major recognized historic tribes, some with thousands of tribal members, unlike today, when tiny bands or groups of Indian descendants often claim to be a separate tribe.

In actuality, they are just splinter groups or families sharing a common or similar tribal ancestry.
In California, these tiny groups are no more than the remnants of families that at one time had a tribal ancestry.

The federal government’s Indian policies ran the gamut from treaties relations to welfare dependency.

In the beginning, when the European powers were struggling for hegemony, over the North American continent it was expedient to make treaties with various recognized tribes who were often allies in the war for control of what was called the American and Canadian territories.

As more and more Europeans migrated to the New World, the expansion of settlements often pushed tribes from territories they occupied and created conflicts between Native Indians and settlers.

Treaties then became a mechanism to make or insure a measure of peace.

As settlement became denser in the Eastern regions and migration westward increased, the conflicts could not be resolved by treaties alone, and in some cases treaties were broken.

This resulted in the disastrous relocation policies of the early to mid-1800s in which groups of Indians east of the Mississippi River were physically relocated to lands they were given by the government west of the Mississippi.

The injustices of the relocation policy and the continuing conflict between settlers were only interrupted by the Civil War.

Following the end of the Civil War, the great migration westward increased as did the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the east.

Conflicts continued with some of the warlike plains Indians and settlers seeking lands in the west
These were often reported, sensationalized and exaggerated in newspapers and books in eastern cities and towns seeking to sell copy.

Treaties with Indian tribes were difficult at best to manage and were heavily oriented toward agriculture.

In 1881, Congress passed a law prohibiting the making of any more treaties with Indian tribes.
The advent of the homestead era, where settlers (and Indians) could homestead lands from the public domain served as impetus for the Dawes Act of 1887.

This federal law provided that Indian tribes could allocate the land they held in common as tribal lands in parcels to tribal members as their own fee lands to farm or ranch as they saw fit.

The intent in what was then still an agrarian-based economy was for these Indians to become self-sufficient and, essentially, to assimilate into the American economy and society.

Individual Indians could also homestead lands under a procedure established by the Indian Homestead Act.

By the terms of the Dawes Act, once a tribe had allotted all of its tribal land to its tribal members, the tribe ceased to have any tribal authority and political identity.

During that period, from the Dawes Act to 1921, there was much confusion in federal Indian policy, which conflicted with the earlier “treaty” policy that had created “reservations” for the occupation and control of tribal entitles.

The relocation policy also created “reservations” for the purposes of a recognized tribe of Indians to occupy and control, free from any outside interference in internal tribal affairs.

These reservations were lands ceded to tribes and to which some tribes were relocated.
Others voluntarily populated these lands set aside for their use and occupation.

During this same period, the U.S. government sought to make individual Indians full citizens of the United States, often creating fictitious or vague rationales for doing so.

Finally, in 1921, Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, which made each individual Indian a full citizen of the United States.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Atlantic City, New Jersey, August 19, 2009......Recently I traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to see an air show that was performed over the ocean in front of the boardwalk. The show featured, among the many aviation demonstrations, the world famous United States Air Force's Thunder Birds.

The first thing, that needs to be said is that leaving the Garden State Parkway (toll road for passenger cars), the traffic is horrendous. Waiting two or three turns of a traffic light to get through some intersections. The roads really can't handle the volume of cars. There are not many signs to direct you to specific casinos. Just poorly laid out.

After riding up and down the streets, I decided to park at Resorts Casino parking garage (self parking). The guard rails inside the garage were painted yellow. The guard rails were dirty, and the garage was small about 1/4 of the size of any garage at the Mohegan Sun Casino or Foxwoods. The fee was twenty ($20.00) dollars. If you had a players card it was free. However, how does one get the card? Go in the casino and apply after you paid the $20.00. No refunds. Not a smart way to do business.

I visited three different casinos. The carpets were worn and in out of the way places needed to be cleaned. They were dirty. The casinos, the parking garage and the boardwalk need a good cleaning. Atlantic City looks like it needs some TLC. It looks like years of neglect is taking it's toll. If you want a tee shirt, they have them in the shops on the boardwalk for 4 for $10.00, They had go kart rides on the arcade pier for $8.00 per ride which lasted about five minutes. A lot of bottled water and soda were being sold by the vendors.

It was a weekday, business in the casinos, was slow despite a large crowd watching the airshow. It looked like the families, had come with their blankets, beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers to enjoy the air show. it didn't seem they were there to gamble. When the Connecticut Sun have their WNBA games in the Mohegan Sun Arena, the crowd files out into their parked cars and leave. The fans of the Connecticut Sun don't seem to be gamblers.

The air conditioners were on super cool. It was about ninety five degrees outside. The air conditioning was a welcome relieve from the heat.

The ease of getting to and from the Mohegan Sun Casino via Route 2-A and Route I-395 and I-95 are a definite advantage. It is a very well designed system.

In Uncasville, Connecticut, the Mohegan Sun, is doing a better job of taking care of it's properties. The casinos in Connecticut are cleaner and bigger. What must be considered is that the Atlantic City Casinos are much older. Atlantic City which has not done very well in business in recent years, isn't putting money back into maintain their properties. The Mohegan Sun needs to cut spending to be profitable, but maintaining itself to look fresh and new is a delicate balance.

The lesson to be learned here is, that the Mohegan Sun can't cut maintaining it's property like Atlantic City seems to have done. It can only lead to the economic peril that Atlantic City seems to have occurring. What do you think?

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The Thunder Birds were great.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Mohegan Sun, MADD partner for 'Dancing' competition.

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 20, 2009 @ 02:52 PM


Mohegan, Conn. — .Eleven Connecticut celebrities will lace up their dancing shoes and hit the floor at Mohegan Sun on Sept. 30 to help raise awareness and funds for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Teaming up with WCTY and Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Mohegan Sun will host a one-night-only "MADD About Dancing" competition in The Cabaret Theatre featuring a special vocal performance by special guest Julianne Hough from "Dancing with the Stars."

Doors to The Cabaret Theatre will open at 7 p.m., when guests will have the opportunity to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and participate in a silent auction featuring Steiner Sports memorabilia among other items before the celebrities take the stage at 7:30 p.m. with their professional dance partners.

The group of celebrities includes: Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, the Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe; Miss Connecticut's "Outstanding Teen" Acacia Courtney; Country recording artist Billy Gilman; NBC Connecticut anchor Brad Drazen; WCTY's morning show co-host Jimmy Lane; Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance; State of Connecticut Comptroller Nancy Wyman; Fox 61 Morning personality Rachel Lutzker; 2009 Miss Connecticut Sharalyn Kuziak; UConn women's basketball assistant coach Shea Ralph; and country singer Stephanie Hansen.

For the competition, each celebrity will be paired with a professional dance partner from Arthur Murray Dance Studio and will perform two short routines, including a foxtrot and a swing performance. Professional dance expos and a special appearance by Hough will round out the event. Hough, who is playing in Mohegan Sun's Wolf Den earlier that evening, will perform a few songs off her latest CD in The Cabaret Theatre for guests.

Tickets to "MADD About Dancing" are $50 and benefit Mother's Against Drunk Driving. They go on sale to the public on Monday and are available at the following locations: all participating Arthur Murray Dance Studios, the MADD state office in East Haven, the WCTY building in Norwich and at Mohegan Sun's box office.

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so guests are encouraged to come early. For more information, visit

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: It is good to see that the Mohegan Sun Casino is sponsoring an event to help MADD.

In my readers opinions, they feel that part of the problem of drunken drivers killing people, may have been caused by the actions that have occurred at the Mohegan Sun?

Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum dancing should be a hoot. Who are these celebrities?

If you can afford the $50.00, this seems like a very good benefit to support. What do you think?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


OPINION: Casino odds grow longer each day
The Enterprise
Posted Aug 02, 2009 @ 12:32 AM

BROCKTON — If we were gambling folks, we would wager that there won’t be a casino built in Middleboro any time soon — or ever.

A series of setbacks has made it clear that Middleboro officials and the Wampanoag Indians who want to build a $1 billion casino complex over 500 acres have no special standing. Their plans are no more likely to come to fruition than gambling dreams in any other community in the state. In fact, the odds may be greater.

The setbacks have been increasingly crushing — a sharp contrast from a landmark town meeting two years ago that gave approval to a deal that would allow the Indians to build their casino in Middleboro.

Both top negotiators have departed the scene: Tribal Chairman Glenn Marshall to prison for embezzlement, and former Selectman Adam Bond back to the private sector (and “optimistically” saying the odds of a casino being built “are 50-50, at best.”)

The town already has collected $1 million in payments from the tribe and is still sitting on more than half of it, debating whether to spend it on needs directly related to a casino. Our advice is to sit tight for now. Spend some of it as needed, but don’t rush to spend any more money on casino needs when a casino is looking less likely each passing day.

A report commissioned by neighboring Halifax has questioned the Wampanoag tribe’s claim to historical ties to Middleboro. The U.S. Supreme Court also threw up a major obstacle in February, ruling that newly recognized tribes — which include the Wampanoags — have no right to “sovereign” land.

That has been the key to other tribes’ ability to build casinos, and after that ruling, the Indians’ financial backers turned off the cash spigot. Their reluctance to continue pouring money into the plans also may have had something to do with the lousy economy. Casinos across the country are reporting record drops in revenues and previously booming sites like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have laid off workers — something almost unheard of.

The state now holds most of the cards in the question of whether gambling halls will come to Massachusetts. The Wampanoags have no more special status than any other group — from race tracks to international investors — who want to build a casino, or at least a slot machine parlor.

There is no special incentive for the state to grant Middleboro a casino license. A casino is just as likely to be built in New Bedford, Raynham, Revere or western Massachusetts.

The Wampanoags rolled the dice, and haven’t come up craps quite yet, but they are more likely to end up with snake-eyes than a 7 or 11.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


New leader says tribe still wants recognition
Eastern Pequots chairman says no court appeal right now of federal ruling

By Brian Hallenbeck Published on 8/8/2009

Jim Cunha, newly elected chairman of the North Stonington-based Eastern Pequot Tribe, said Friday the tribe remains focused on gaining federal recognition, a status that seemed within its grasp several years ago.

Cunha acknowledged, however, that the tribe has no source of income and has yet to pursue a court appeal of the U.S. Department of the Interior's 2005 reversal of a decision granting the tribe recognition. In 2002, the department's Bureau of Indian Affairs, acting on separate applications filed by the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots and the Eastern Pequots, recognized them as a single tribe, the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.

The reversal came after state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the towns of Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston appealed the BIA decision.

”We're keeping all our options open as far as federal recognition goes,” Cunha, a digital media specialist for The Day Publishing Co., said in an interview. He said the tribe is “monitoring other situations,” including that of the Schagticokes, the Kent-based tribe that also had a favorable recognition decision overturned. The Schagticokes have appealed the reversal in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cunha, 47, was two years into a three-year term as vice chairman of the unified Eastern Pequots' tribal council when he was elected July 25 to a three-year term as council chairman. A former chief of the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, Cunha defeated Kathy Sebastian-Dring, a former council member. In a 2007 election, he ousted Mark Sebastian, the Eastern Pequots' former longtime vice chairman.

About 23 percent of the tribal membership's eligible voters cast ballots, Cunha said.

The more than 1,100 members of the tribe - including about 150 former Paucatuck Eastern Pequots and 1,000 former Eastern Pequots - no longer think of themselves as belonging to one “faction” or another, Cunha said.

”We don't refer to factions anymore,” said Cunha, who lived on the tribe's 225-acre reservation up until 2005.

As chairman, he said he will “try to meet the tribe's goals” and “move the tribe forward.” He did not elaborate.

Asked if the tribe would pursue a casino development if it gained federal recognition, Cunha said, “In this economy, recognition is the first thing. We're not thinking beyond that.”

Before the separate tribes united, both had deals with financial backers eager to build a casino. At one point, Donald Trump backed the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots while Eastern Capital, whose principals included Southport developer David Rosow, supported the former Eastern Pequots.

In addition to Cunha, Brian Geer and Angie Oliver also were elected July 25 to the Eastern Pequots' 12-member tribal council. Other council members are: Mary Sebastian; Marcia Flowers, former chairwoman of the Eastern Pequots; Agnes Cunha, Jim's mother, who was chairman of the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots for 27 years; Lynn Powers, recording secretary; Dennis Jenkins; Val Gambrell, comptroller; Brenda Geer, corresponding secretary; Joe Perry and Tom Perry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Uncasville, Connecticut, August 19. 2009*----As usual, rumors are running wild on the Mohegan Reservation. I don't know if what I am going to talk about is accurate, however, the informants, usually give very reliable information, so here goes.

The number one rumor is that the Mohegan Sun Casino, is going to build a bridge over the roadway on the west side of the complex, to connect the Thames River Garage and the Riverview Garage. How many millions, is this going to cost? Why was the Thames River Garage ever built to begin with? People (customers) never seem to use it anyway. Going both ways back and forth could be a logistical nightmare. What do you think?

Rumor Number two is that when the Tribal Council of the Mohegan Tribe was asked what the interest rate the Mohegan Tribe was paying for their various debts, no Tribal Councilor knew the answer? Did that happen? Is it true? What do you think?

Rumor number three is that the Mohegan flag is not flying over Fort Hill Elder Housing because the government doesn't want to spend the reported $600.00 to $800.00 for the purchase of the Mohegan Flag. The Mohegan Flags are supposedly made of silk, for interior use, and are being used as exterior flags. Why can't the tribe have someone make a flag out of canvas or some other fabric that can withstand the weather?

Rumor number four, is it true that Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum's brother, Mike Bozsum, is still parking the white (tribal members call the pimp mobile) van in the casino parking lot over night? Allegedly, tribal members were wearing at the Wigwam, white tee shirts with the Mohegan Symbol on the back and the front of the shirt said something to the effect of VOTE FOR MIKE BOZSUM. Was this really allowed to happen? If it is true, how come the Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council is allowing this to happen? Do you know?

Allegation number one, Only one member of either the Mohegan Council of Elders or the Tribal Council showed up on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, event (wild Wednesday) on the Riverview Garage. Is that true? Where were our (the Mohegan Tribe's) elected officials? Where were the Tribal Council Members? Aren't some of these people running for re-election?

Allegation number two, is that allegedly a tribal member using a Freedom of Information Form, requested to know, how much the Tribal Council Members were spending on their expense accounts. He allegedly was told that the information was confidential? Since when is it confidential for a government, not to explain where and how it is spending its' money? This is not a business, but a government. Does it make the Citizens of the government, wonder where the money is going? Could there be abuses in the money being spent? Why wouldn't a government tell you this information? Does the Tribal Council have something to hide?

Allegation number three, is that on the same Freedom of Information Form, the tribal member asked about the $50 thousand dollar ($50,000.00) loan that was given to a government worker, which caused a Ethics Investigation, years ago. We still don't know if it was ever repaid or is being repaid? Is it true, that the tribal member was told that the information was confidential? Do you know? What do you think?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Mohegan, Conn. — .It started with just the beating of a few drums and a small group of voices chanting a tribal song.

But the beat grew louder and the chanting stronger as more and more members of the Mohegan and many other American Indian tribes filed through the ceremonial arch into a large white tent for the Grand Entry of Saturday’s Wigwam Festival at Fort Shantok.

Dressed in traditional clothing, the hundreds of tribe members created a mosaic of color as they marched and danced around a fire at the center of the tent. The hundreds of spectators found it difficult not to move with the beat, as they stood around the procession of dancing tribal members.

“It’s beautiful,” said Jennifer Charnik of Gales Ferry. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A celebration of the green corn for the year, the annual festival dates back thousands of years, said Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, medicine woman for the Mohegan Tribe.

Typically a two-day festival, Zobel said this year’s celebration was slimmed to one day because of the sluggish economy.

“We want to make sure our festivals are keeping with the times,” Zobel said. “In better years we’d maybe be a little more lavish.”

Zobel said the festival typically draws about 10,000 people each day, but she was not sure whether the one-day festival would draw more or fewer people.

The main tent was filled with the sound of tribal drums throughout the day, as ceremonial and traditional dance competitions were held. Past the main tent, smells of native food wafted toward the craft and vendor area, where clothing, jewelry, blankets and other items were for sale.

Bruce “Gentlewind” Chapman, a member of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said the Grand Entry and the dancing competitions are his favorite parts of the festival.

“It brings all the tribes together and it gives the public an idea of what we’re all about — our heritage, our history,” Chapman said.

Many residents said they attended to observe the tradition and gain a glimpse of the tribal culture.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Bruce "Gentlewing" Chapman, is not a member of the Tribal Council, the journalist must have misunderstood. I have received mixed reviews on the festival. Some people said it was better than most others said it wasn't. There was a lot of complaining about long lines waiting to get food from the food vendors. Did you have good time? What did you think?

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Mashpee leader: Carcieri fix must be ‘retrospective, prospective’ – and speedy
By Gale Courey Toensing

Story Published: Aug 5, 2009

Story Updated: Jul 31, 2009

WASHINGTON – A legislative fix to the U.S. Supreme Court’s “very terrible and bad” Carcieri ruling should provide a clear and solid affirmation that all federally recognized tribes past and future have an inalienable right to trust land – and it should be enacted by the end of this year.

That was the message Cedric Cromwell, the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, brought to a consultation session with Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echohawk in Arlington, Va. July 8.

The session was one of three consultation meetings the federal agency has held with Indian nations to get their input on potential legislation to repair the high court’s damaging February ruling that the Interior secretary does not have the authority to take land into trust for nations federally recognized after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

Land into trust opponents are already taking advantage of the ruling to try to stop Indian nations from securing the land they need for economic development, housing, health care, education facilities and their citizens’ other social needs.

In Tulsa, for example, City Councilor Bill Christiansen began organizing a fight against efforts by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to place two parcels of land into federal trust, arguing the city would lose more property and sales taxes if the BIA grants more land into trust for the tribe.

The Carcieri land into trust roadblock is particularly ironic for the Mashpees, given that their ancestors were the indigenous people who met and welcomed the first wave of English settler-colonists on the shores of Cape Cod in 1620, helping them survive the harsh northeastern woodlands winter.

“That’s one of the reasons why Americans are here today. The Supreme Court did something very terrible and bad in its Carcieri decision, and I can’t understand how they can sleep at night knowing what they did was so hurtful to our people,” Cromwell said. “All federally recognized tribes should be able to take land into trust via the secretary of the Interior Department, retrospectively and prospectively, now and hereafter, so that someone does not manipulate the Indian Reorganization Act again, because that’s exactly what the Supreme Court did.”

The Mashpees received federal recognition in 2007 after spending 32 years in the BIA queue.

When the first settler-colonists arrived in the “New World,” the Wampanoags’ dominated the southeastern part of what became Massachusetts and their territory extended from Narragansett Bay and the Pawtucket River to the Atlantic coast, including Nantucket and what became Martha’s Vineyard.

Today, the tribe is landless. But the inherent sovereignty of Indian nations is land-based, Cromwell said.

“You take land into trust so that you can be a sovereign and provide for your people. It shouldn’t ever be two classes of Native American peoples – nations with land in trust and those that don’t have land. The 1994 amendment to the Indian Reorganization Act said just that – that all tribes should be treated equally.”

In his written testimony, Cromwell asked Echohawk to support immediate legislative relief through Congress to ensure that all federally recognized tribes have full and equal access to the benefits of the IRA.

“Indian country needs the active support of the Interior Department and of the rest of the Obama administration. We ask that the administration formally request that Congress act on a legislative fix by this fall. We seek a commitment to work with the House and Senate to ensure that the legislative fix becomes law by the end of this year.”

Cromwell said all the nations are speaking with one voice on the issue, and the Interior Department appears to back them up.

“Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said he wants a fix for the situation and before they do the fix, he asked the Assistant Secretary Echohawk and Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins to get out there and have these consultation sessions. So I’m hopeful, because before they make any decision they do have to hear from the tribes around what our concerns are.”

It was the first time Cromwell presented testimony to the federal agency. Elected in February, Cromwell replaced former Chairman Glenn Marshall, who was convicted on various charges of embezzlement and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty in February.

A week before the Washington area consultation session, Cromwell was decked out in a feathered headdress and ribbon shirt, drumming and dancing at the Mashpee Wampanoags’ 88th Annual Powwow, a three-day event over the July 4 weekend.

A former senior directing manager at Fidelity Investment where he handled a $100 million portfolio, Cromwell said the transition from tribal mode to Washington mode is nothing new. He said Indians have had to be successful navigating both worlds for a long time.

“I wore a suit in Washington; however, I wore a wampum bolo to represent who I am as a Mashpee Wampanoag. Growing up in Boston, I was always a Mashpee living in an Indian household in the middle of an urban environment. The theory is one foot in a moccasin and one foot in a shoe. Native Americans have to be able to interpret and understand the non-Native world to be successful in the non-Native world, which dominates our environment. It’s like speaking two languages.”

The pow wow was a huge success, drawing more than 7,000 people from all over the northeast and beyond.

A high point of the event is the unique Mashpee fireball game, a traditional medicine game played on Saturday night after dark in which two teams of players throw, grab and kick a flaming ball of fire made of kerosene-soaked deer skin and other materials by a tribal member. Teams score by getting the ball past a goal post.

Cromwell said he played the game this year for his father, who passed away.

The pow wow theme of “honoring tribal medicine” was particularly appropriate for the tribe, which is trying to heal the wounds and divisions left in the wake of Marshall’s criminal activities.

“Honoring tribal medicine was really understood and received well by folks,” Cromwell said. “It’s important for people to walk away with good feelings about the tribe.”

Mashpee seeks negotiations with casino investors

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is going forward with its land into trust application with the Interior Department for a 500-plus acre casino site despite a tribal council vote not to reaffirm its development services contract with the casino investors.

The council voted June 10 not to reaffirm the terms of its agreement with South African casino development partners Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman, owners of Trading Cove Associates. The duo formed Trading Cove at Mashpee to develop a billion-dollar casino resort on 539 acres in Middleborough, Mass., that tribal leaders hope to put into trust.

The tribe, which was recognized in 2007, owns around 200 acres of land around Mashpee, Mass., but has no reservation or trust land.

The Middleborough property belongs to Trading Cove. If the tribe’s land into trust application is successful the property ownership will transfer to the nation. An Environmental Impact Study, required by the land into trust process, has not been completed.

“We still have the agreement. I can’t go into details because of confidentiality provisions. What I can say is our tribal council voted on a motion to reaffirm the development services agreement with the investors and the motion failed at the table unanimously. What it means is we want to sit down with the investors and negotiate the terms of an agreement so that it’s better in line with the tribe’s financial goals,” Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell said.

Kerzner and Wolman are the high-powered casino investors who developed the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut and the Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island. TCAM stopped making monthly payments to the tribe in May, a month before the tribal council vote. Also in May, Twin Rivers filed for bankruptcy, telling the court the casino’s survival depended upon it being permitted to eliminate its money-losing dog races and operate the casino 24 hours a day.

Trading Cove’s decision to cut payments to Mashpee followed the Supreme Court’s Carcieri ruling, which casts doubt on the ability of Indian nations to get land into trust if they were not federally recognized in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed. The Mashpee Wampanoags were recognized in 2007.

Kerzner and Wolman forged the Mashpee development agreement with former Mashpee Chairman Glenn Marshall in 2006. Marshall is currently serving a prison term of three-and-a-half years and three years’ probation on an array of federal charges including social security fraud, tax evasion, making illegal campaign contributions and embezzlement of more than $400,000.

Marshall was also involved with former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty Jan. 3, 2006, to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud involving public officials and fraud involving his Indian nation clients; one count of honest services fraud involving public officials; and one count of tax evasion. Abramoff defrauded his Indian clients out of tens of millions of dollars.

Although Marshall’s involvement with Abramoff remains murky, a Justice Department sentencing memorandum of former Interior Deputy Secretary Steven Griles documents a contribution made in February 2003 during Marshall’s tenure of $50,000 to a faux environmental organization whose executive director, Italia Federici, acted as a go-between for Abramoff and Griles. Federici was convicted of obstructing the Abramoff investigation and tax evasion.

A report on the Gambling Compliance Web site says the nation’s current tribal council members, most of whom were elected in February, have taken a skeptical view of the contract Marshall signed with Kerzner and Wolman.

Based on a casino that would generate more than $700 million a year, the investors would reap $40 million a year while the tribe would get about $15 million a year – an unfair distribution of revenues, the tribe’s new leadership says, according to report.

University of Massachusetts professor and gaming industry expert Clyde Barrow agrees.

“It’s not a very good deal for the tribe.”

A spokeswoman for TCAM told Gambling Compliance, “Under the terms of our agreement with the tribe, which is in full force and effect, we do not feel it would be appropriate at this time for us to comment on any pending matters with the tribe.”

Friday, August 14, 2009


Foxwoods reporting 13 percent drop in slot revenue for July.

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 14, 2009 @ 10:50 AM


Mashantucket, Conn. — .Foxwoods Resort Casino today reported its July slot revenue came in at $63.2 million, representing a 13.5 percent drop in slot win and a 13.1 percent decrease in total slot handle compared to the same period last year.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the casino’s owner, said a $15.8 million payment was sent to the state in July.


Bridgeport man arrested, accused of passing fake bills.

By Staff reports
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 14, 2009 @ 07:24 AM


Bridgeport, Conn. — .State Police at Mohegan Sun arrested Joshua Landrau early Friday morning and accused him of possessing and gambling with fake bills at the casino.

Police charged Landrau, 28, with first-degree forgery. He was held on $10,000 cash bond and is expected today in Norwich Superior Court.

Police said another unnamed person is responsible for the creation of the counterfeit cash.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; How may bad bills were cashed before the Mohegan Sun caught the people? How does things like this happen? What do you think?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


If you are like me, and not going to attend the Mohegan Tribe's Wigwam on Saturday August 15, 2009, here are some other things you might consider doing. For those who are going to Wigwam, have fun.

Washington County Fair
10 a.m.-11 p.m., Washington County Fairgrounds, Route 112, Richmond, R.I.; $9, free to ages 10 and under; through Sun.; washingtoncountyfair-ri. com.

17th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair
10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Town Green, center of historic Essex; sponsored by the First Baptist Church in Essex; 50 -70 exhibitors;

Wine & Food Festival
noon - 5 p.m., Mystic Seaport, Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic; Seamen's Inne Executive Chef Tim Quinn, in partnership with local and regional farmers, fishermen and vintners, will offer culinary tastings, cooking presentations and create food and wine parings at the Viking Celebrity Kitchen Stage. Additionally, visitors can sample award-winning wines, attend educational wine seminars and watch food symposiums on the Village Green; $24, $15 for ages 6-17

2nd Annual Griswold Renaissance Fair
11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Griswold Veteran's Memorial Park, Ashland St., Jewett City; artisans, food booths and entertainment; 376-2604. , 5 and under are admitted for free;, 888-973-2767. $65 booth and vendor fees; food gazebo; or 434-0751


New London man faces prison in casino beating.

By Staff reports
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 12, 2009 @ 11:13 PM

.A New London man convicted in a 2006 stabbing at Montville High School faces six more years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to his role in an attack on an 18-year-old man at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Isaiah Brown-Rocket, 19, pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to second-degree assault in the September attack in an elevator lobby. He also admitted violating terms of his probation stemming from his conviction in the 2006 stabbing. Brown-Rocket was sentenced to two years in prison and three years probation in that case.

Also involved in the casino fight were Akeem Jarrett of Uncasville and Matthew W. Hebert of Preston. Their cases are pending.

Police said the victim was kicked, punched and hit with a handgun. State police said they also found the magazine for a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol, along with three live rounds of ammunition, on the floor of the casino lobby.

Brown-Rocket will be sentenced Oct. 28 in New London Superior Court. The recommended sentence is 10 years suspended after six years and three years probation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Why would anyone start a fight or some kind of retaliation at a casino? Don't they realize there is security and cameras? Not very smart. Are things, like this happening at the Mohegan Sun Casino also? These were local people (Uncasville, New London and Preston)? Guns in casinos and hotels? Hello? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Casino remark causes stir in Monson
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
PALMER - Comments made by Palmer's representative to the Western Massachusetts Regional Casino Task Force about Monson have bothered officials in that town.

Paul E. Burns, also a Palmer town councilor, last week talked about how he opposed having a regional vote on casinos, and said a vote should be limited to the town hosting the proposed casino. Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun wants to build a $1 billion resort casino in Palmer, should casino gaming become legal in the state.

As an example, Burns cited the town of Monson and how Palmer doesn't have a say in Monson's business now.

Burns made the comments in reference to a letter sent by the task force to legislators that outlined priorities the task force would like to see in any casino legislation. One priority was a regional vote, which is why Burns was the lone member to vote against the letter.

Burns' comments prompted Monson Town Administrator Gretchen E. Neggers to send an e-mail to Palmer Town Manager Matthew S. Streeter saying she was concerned about the "inflammatory comments in the newspaper" targeting Monson. In the e-mail, she cited Palmer and Monson's "strong history" of cooperating on regional issues.

"Unnecessary rhetoric on this volatile and emotional issue should not cast negative connotations on what has been and what we hope will continue to be a positive and constructive relationship between the towns," Neggers wrote.

Contacted later, Neggers said she was hurt by the comments. She said the selectmen will discuss the casino issue at its meeting today and will reiterate its neutrality on the topic.

Edward S. Harrison, a Monson selectman and task force chairman, said the Burns issue probably will be addressed at the next task force meeting later this month.

Harrison said he supports the concept of a regional vote. He also said the task force, which has been neutral to the casino concept, may decide to take a vote to either support or oppose casinos.

Burns said his comments about Monson were in no way meant to diminish the work of task force members. However, he said he still believes the people of Palmer, not the region, should have the sole right to vote on any proposed development in their town.

Burns noted that the region referred to in the letter includes Springfield and Chicopee.

"Whether you support or oppose the concept of a resort casino in Palmer, the idea that voters in those cities have a right to vote on economic development activity in Palmer is disturbing at best ... Allowing or encouraging such a vote sets a dangerous precedent," Burns wrote in a statement.

"We in Palmer have never insisted on having voting rights or veto power regarding zoning or development in other communities, despite their impacts in Palmer," Burns continued.

Burns said he agrees with most of the other priorities in the letter and said he didn't mean to single anybody out.

The work of the task force was praised by state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, who said he will take the list of concerns into serious consideration when the casino debate begins. Brewer said a casino bill is expected to be debated sometime in the fall.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Is it fair, that other towns or villages should have a say in what Palmer does?

How about the economic impacts, to the towns surrounding towns with casinos in them? If towns are going to bare increased financial responsibilities because of the casinos, should they have a say in the building of the casinos?

Look at Norwich and New London, do they have more financial responsibilities because of the casinos? (schools, law enforcement,traffic, etc.) The casinos in Connecticut pay the revenues to the state but have no say in how the state spends the money.

Shouldn't the Mohegan Tribal Council, instead of trying to build a casino in Palmer, make the Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut, more profitable? What do you think?


Wigwam Festival Is On, Thankfully

By Brian Hallenbeck Published on 8/12/2009

Mohegan - An old Mohegan expression, it almost sounds like a contradiction in terms: The less there is to be thankful for, the more important it is to be thankful.

But, according to Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, a Mohegan tribal historian and medicine woman, it's the inspiration for Saturday's Mohegan Wigwam Festival, a one-day cultural celebration that in more abundant times spanned at least two days.

”Everyone has cut back a little,” Zobel said Tuesday. “We thought it was the prudent thing to do this year. We didn't want to have to charge admission.”

What: Mohegan Wigwam Festival

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fort Shantok, Uncasville

Parking: No on-site parking. Shuttle buses will operate from the Mohegan Sun bus lobby and the Thamesview Garage starting at 10:30 a.m. The last shuttle will return to Mohegan Sun at 7 p.m.

More information: (800) MOHEGAN.

The Mashantucket Pequots also downsized their annual cultural event this year, indefinitely canceling Schemitzun, which had grown into the biggest American Indian gathering on the East Coast since its inception in 1992. The tribe will host a much smaller powwow Aug. 21-22.

Zobel said the Mohegans, who have reduced the size of their government and engaged in other belt-tightening this year, needed only look to the example of Fidelia Fielding, the 19th-century Mohegan matriarch and mentor to the late Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Zobel's great aunt and the tribe's longtime medicine woman. It was Fielding's mantra to be grateful for something every day, if only the sun's shining, Zobel said.

Fielding, considered the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan Pequot language, died in 1908, leaving behind diaries that have enabled her descendants to restore the language in which “wigwam” translates as “welcome.”

In years past, as many as 10,000 people a day have attended the Mohegan Wigwam Festival, which welcomes tribal members, members of other tribes and the public free of charge. “Everyone gets to be Mohegan for a day,” Zobel said.

The event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Fort Shantok, will feature a dance competition, vendors' displays of arts and crafts and American Indian food.

Not to be missed is the pageantry of the Grand Entry, a processional scheduled to begin at noon. Flag-bearing leaders of the Mohegan Tribe, veterans, elders and other members of the tribe will first enter the main tent erected for the festival, followed by members of other participating tribes. The procession, its members dancing, will form a circle that gradually tightens until everyone has entered the tent.

Fielding, a loner who tended to avoid festivals and other social gatherings, would still have to admire the spirit behind the Mohegan Wigwam Festival.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: How come Emma T. Baker, also a Medicine Woman of the Mohegan Tribe was not mentioned?

How did going from two days to one day happen? Could it have been caused by the mismanagement of our (the Mohegan Tribe's) businesses? Is it the economy? Did this have to happen? Who is to blame?

Allegedly, attendance is down for Cultural Week. Is this true? If it is true, how come? Do you know?

There are no pets allowed at Fort Shantok.

No alcohol is allowed.

Please come and enjoy yourselves. Park at the Thames Garage at Mohegan Sun Casino,(the first garage on right coming off of Route 2-A). The Grand Entry is usually at 12'00 P.M. (noon).

Come and have fun. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


New York tribes receive share of stimulus funds
Friday, July 31, 2009
Filed Under: National

Two New York tribes are among the beneficiaries of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Oneida Nation is using $83,000 to install solar lights in a housing community. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is using more than $2 million for water treatment and sewer systems.

The stimulus package provided $3 billion for Indian Country projects. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) voted for the bill but appears to have questions about tribes receiving money.

“If it creates jobs for our workers who pay taxes, pay the payroll tax and everything else, that's one thing; if it goes to people who do not pay taxes or does not create jobs... it's another,” Schumer tells WSYR-TV.

Get the Story:
Billions in stimulus dollars to Indian nations: The Real Deal (WSYR-TV 7/30)

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; How come the Mohegan Tribe, hasn't put in for these funds? Or have they? Should the Mohegan Tribe put in for them? What do you think?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Whalen, Sun stun Mystics.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Mystics’ Nikki Blue, right, fights for a loose ball with the Sun’s Kerri Gardin during the second half on Sunday in Mohegan. Connecticut won the game, 96-67.
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Aug 09, 2009 @ 11:28 PM
Last update Aug 09, 2009 @ 11:33 PM

.MOHEGAN — Only two minutes and 17 seconds of the game had elapsed and Connecticut Coach Mike Thibault called a time out. From the foul line he glared in at his team assembling on the bench, crossed his arms and glanced at the scoreboard.

“I wasn't happy with the start,” he said. “I don't know if that was a hangover from the travel on Friday, but after that it was good.”

In fact, it was very good.

The Sun put together one of their most impressive offensive efforts of the season as all five starters found their way to double figures for a first time this year. The team shot a season high 48.6 percent from the floor and made 36 field goals for a second consecutive game. All of this led to the highest-scoring game of the season for Connecticut as it beat Washington, 96-67.

Thibault later marveled that “it's almost a perfect box score” and it also brought the Sun back into a tie for second place in the Eastern Division with the Mystics.

“We had to beat them,” said Asjha Jones, whose 14 points marked her franchise record 18th straight game with double-digit scoring. “The race is so tight, we're all neck-and-neck fighting for that spot, second and third place.”

Katie Douglas owned the previous mark, set in 2006.

The Sun also had to prove to themselves that they could beat the Mystics after they lost, 82-70, in the season opener to them.

It wasn't a given that would happen early as Washington scored 10 of the first 13 points, five each by Alana Beard and Lindsay Harding to force Thibault to call the early timeout.

“Our game plan was to shut down the middle and they got a couple of drives on their first possessions,” Sun guard Tan White said. “Once we settled down after that timeout, from there on, we shut down the middle.”

Connecticut went on an 11-3 run to tie the game at 14 when Lindsay Whalen—- who led the Sun with 16 points — sank a 3-pointer with 5:13 left in the quarter. The Sun then got another lift when veteran forward Tamika Whitmore came on the floor for the first time in 11 games and sank her first shot 20 seconds later, just beating the shot clock to give Connecticut an 18-16 lead.

“I was like, 'Wow, that went in,'” Whitmore said. “It was a pretty tough shot and after that I was just on a high.”

The Mystics would tie the game one more time as Beard, who was a pest both offensively and defensively in the first half, drove around Erin Phillips to tie the game at 18.

Beard finished with 16 first-half points and three steals, two on Jekabsone-Zogota at mid-court that resulted in two easy fast-break baskets.

She's really quick with her hands, I will need to remember that,” Jekabsone-Zogota said.

Despite the Beard onslaught, Connecticut built an eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter and was challenged only on one other occasion. Six-straight points by Beard in less than a minute chopped Connecticut's lead to two, 36-34, with 4:15 left in the half. But a 3-pointer by Jekabsone-Zogota (15 points), and a free throw and 3-pointer by White (13 points) ended the Mystics’ run.

“As a team, you can't get down when another team makes a shot or two, you have to expect the team will make a run at you at some point of the game,” White said. “I think we stuck together as a team.”

The Sun found the answer to Beard in the second half as they limited her to just two points.

“She didn't get to turn the corner on us as much and tired to keep fresh people on her,” Thibault said.

The Sun maintained a 10-point lead throughout the third quarter and put the game away with a 10-2 run to start the fourth.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Wigwam Festival returns to Fort Shantock.

By Staff reports
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jul 29, 2009 @ 10:49 AM


Mohegan, Conn. — .Crafts, food and dance return to Fort Shantock, Uncasville from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 15 for the annual Mohegan Wigwam Festival.

The event is free and open to the public, but there is no on-site parking available. Shuttles will be available from Mohegan Sun’s bus lobby and Thamesview garage with the last shuttle of the day returning to Mohegan Sun at 7 p.m.

Grand entry for the event is at noon, and there will be Eastern War and Eastern Blanket Dance competitions all day for girls and boys (7-12), teens (13-17), adults (18-49) and Golden Age adults (50 and older). Registration the day of the event for competitions costs $10 and will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration includes meal ticket.

For information, call (800) 664-3426.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Montgomery wards off the Sun
The Associated Press
Posted Aug 07, 2009 @ 11:26 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Renee Montgomery scored a career-high 24 points, Nicky Anosike had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Connecticut Sun, 95-88, on Friday night.

Charde Houston had 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Lynx (11-10) end a three-game losing streak. Candice Wiggins scored 12 points.

Sandrine Gruda led Connecticut with 21 points. Asjha Jones had 16 points, and Anete Jekabsone-Zogota and Lindsay Whalen each had 15 for the Sun (10-10), which was 12-for-22 from the free-throw line.

“We didn’t get a stop for a whole bunch of possessions in a row and they got to the free throw line,” Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. “Then, what killed us, was that when we got to the line we missed. We had good free throw shooters miss and that’s just giving away points.”

Montgomery hit a 3-pointer with 5:41 to play for a 81-78 Lynx lead. She was 9-of-13 from the field.

Anosike made a pair of free throws and Montgomery two more in the final 2 minutes for Minnesota for a 91-86 lead. The Lynx, wearing pink uniforms as part of Breast Health Awareness Night, were 23-for-31 from the line.

Anosike, an All-Star selection, was averaging six points in the three games since the All-Star break after scoring 33 in her previous two games. Her 10th career double-double tied Svetlana Abrosimova for the most in franchise history.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Tan White and Jekabsone-Zogota gave the Sun a 37-27 lead midway through second quarter, but the Lynx cut it to 48-45 at the half.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: This is a tops turfy season, the Sun win, the sun lose, The team is now 10 wins and 10 losses. Maybe, the Sun can win Sunday at 3:00 P.M. at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Go Sun, go. What do you think?

Friday, August 7, 2009


Uncasville, Connecticut, August 7, 2009 ------This weekend on Sunday, August 9, 2009, will be the Naming Ceremony conducted at Shantok. If you don't want to or can't attend may I suggest some other things to do.

First, how about we support a tribe, that needs our help? who? The Narragansetts, that's who. They are having a Pow Wow, this Saturday and Sunday. The event takes place at the Narragansett Church, on Old Mill Road, in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

Second, there is a big art and craft show both Saturday and Sunday in Mystic. There is always, lots of vendors and some terrific art and crafts to buy.

There is also on Sunday, August 9, 2009, at 3;00 P. M., a WNBA Basketball Game at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena, between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics. Both teams are 10-9, so it should be a good game. Go Sun, go.

Have a good weekend, fellow Mohegans.


Uncasville, Connecticut, Friday, August 7, 2009. "Elvis has left the building." That is what the announcer said after an Elvis concert, as Elvis was whisked out of the building, into a car and on his way.

Today, Dr. Jeffrey Bendremer, the Mohegan Tribe's Archaeologist, leaves the building (the government building), hopefully not forever.

He is being let go allegedly, because of budget cuts. Allegedly, the good doctor, was asked about how he missed his family by a member of the Council of Elders. He allegedly told them that he missed his family.

It has been reported, to Brokenwing Editorials, that allegedly the next day or a few days later, Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, and other members of the Tribal Council met with the Council of Elders, Bozsum allegedly said, "Jeff has to go." Robert Sopher, allegedly said, "Okay." Nobody on the Council of Elders or the Tribal Council allegedly tried to save his job.

Allegedly, some of the Council of Elders, took Dr. Bendremer, out to dinners and lunches, telling him how they supported him and wished him well. Was it because they felt guilty of their alleged actions? Were they trying to ease their consciences? Were they promising him that maybe they would let him run future field schools on the Mohegan Reservation? Were they figuratively putting a carrot in front of a rabbit's face? Did they harm him? What do you think?

Could it be that he was let go because his boss or bosses didn't appreciate him? Was it politics?

Could it be that his bosses didn't understand what he did for the Mohegan Tribe and what he meant to us? Could people have been afraid, that he could do their jobs?

Could it be that the Mohegan Tribe only has an Archaeology Department to look legitimate? If an archaeological site were found, would it be saved if the government needed to build something? Is history or progress more important? The bulldozer or the trowel?

Whoever heard of an Archaeology Department without an archaeologist? The department will survive without him, if the government doesn't cut the department even more. What will the government do? What do you think?

Jeff Bendremer, spent five (5) years, doing field schools for the Mohegan people. He then was hired as the tribe's archaeologist, serving us for the last the ten (10) years. This man has given us (the Mohegan People) his soul serving us faithfully and professionally. He is a kind, honest, hard working man. Fifteen (15) years of service. Think about it folks.

I believe Jeff had a dream to spend his life working for the Mohegan Tribe, and making a difference for us. I believe, he wanted to retire leaving us a legacy of important historical information about our history. That dream was shattered. This is how we treat him? This is how we repay him? This is how we show our gratitude? We let him go. Hello?

Dr. Jeff Bendremer, leaves us (the Mohegan Tribe) today. It is his last day. Jeff will travel to Montana to be with his family. His wife was offered a good position, that would help her career, taking a job in Montana. He has spent the last one (1) year serving us, while his family is away. A tremendous sacrifice. I think he needs to be with his family.

I think, he was grateful for being able to work the extra six (6) months, until the end of the field school. I think he was glad for the extra income, too.

Maybe, what is happening is a blessing in disguise. Some Mohegans will miss him. He needs to be with his wife and children. Our loss, is his gain. Be happy, Jeff.

Dr. Bendremer, we wish you well. You will be missed. You served us well. You were a good employee and a good friend. You will always be in our hearts and minds. Good luck in your future endeavors. Keep in touch. God speed.

No "Elvis has not left the building," Dr. Jeff Bendremer has left the building.


Official: Conn. Man Struck By Deer While Riding His Scooter In RI Dies
Rhode Island
8:17 AM EDT, August 5, 2009
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HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) — - Authorities say a volunteer firefighter from Connecticut injured when the motor scooter he was operating struck a deer in Rhode Island has died.

The chief of the Moosup Fire Department in Plainfield, Conn. tells The Providence Journal that 41-year-old Alan J. Smith died Monday night.

Chief Paul Yellen says Smith and several friends in a motor scooter club were riding to Narragansett on Sunday morning when a deer bolted from the woods and hit his scooter on Route 138 in Hopkinton.

His passenger was also hurt, but survived.

Yellen says Smith had lived in Connecticut for about five years after moving from Rhode Island where he served on the Coventry Fire Department.

Yellen says the death is "hard for us to comprehend."

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The other day comng off Route 2-A in Uncasville two deer ran in front of the car I was driving. Many times when I drive in and out of Fort Hill Elder Housing, deer have run in front of me. The lesson, be careful there are a lot of deer out there, and if they are not going to watch out for themselves, then we have to watch out for them.. What do you think?>


Foxwoods settles personal injury suit over lost leg for $2.9 million
Massachusetts man was injured in valet parking accident

By Brian Hallenbeck Published on 8/7/2009

Mashantucket - Richard Murch arrived Thursday morning at Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court prepared for days of arduous testimony in his 2-year-old personal-injury lawsuit against Foxwoods Resort Casino.

He wore a prosthetic leg.

Then, before the trial could commence, attorneys informed him that a settlement had been reached. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, which operates Foxwoods, had agreed to pay the 68-year-old Murch $2.9 million in actual damages and for the pain and suffering he endured following the November 2006 valet-parking accident that caused him to have his right leg amputated above the knee.

”I was very pleasantly surprised,” Murch, of Tewksbury, Mass., said later. “It was an 11th-hour settlement, but a settlement all the same.

”I think the settlement was fair,” he said. “I'm very happy with the result. I'm going to sit back now and relax - and go on with the rest of my life. … I've had a tough time.”

Murch's travails began Nov. 20, 2006, the day he and his wife, Carolyn, drove to Foxwoods to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Murch had delivered his car to a valet parking attendant and was retrieving his wife's sweater from the trunk when another vehicle struck him from behind, pinning him against his car, according to court documents.

The driver of the standard-transmission vehicle that struck Murch, which had been parked two to three car lengths behind Murch's car, had left it in first gear without engaging the parking brake. While standing outside the vehicle, a valet reached in and started the engine. The vehicle shot forward.

”… It appears Rich (Murch) was initially crushed between the two vehicles, and the force of the collision propelled Rich's car forward,” court documents say. “The (other vehicle) continued forward and knocked Rich down.”

A valet had to get into the vehicle and restart it to get it off Murch's legs, the suit says.

Under the agreement reached Thursday, MPGE and its insurance company, Liberty Mutual, will pay Murch $2,925,000. The company that insured the owner of the vehicle that struck Murch will pay $100,000, bringing the total settlement to $3,025,000.

M. John Strafaci, the New London attorney who represented Murch, called the settlement “very fair given all the factors involved.” He said the amount would cover the medical expenses his client has incurred as well as those he's likely to incur in the future, including those associated with more advanced prosthetics that may become available.

David Williams of the Norwich firm Brown Jacobson, who represented MPGE, was unavailable to comment later in the day.

In a statement, Jackson King, general counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, said: “We feel this is a fair settlement for Mr. Murch's severe and unfortunate injuries and hope that it serves as some consolation for his loss.”

King said that to his knowledge it was the tribal court's highest personal-injury settlement.

Strafaci, who initially proposed a $4.75 million settlement several months ago, said he also sought compensation for Murch's lost earnings and the cost of renovations needed to make his home and a retirement cottage in Maine accessible to the handicapped. At the time of the accident, Murch, a retired assistant general manager of a utility company, worked part time as a bookkeeper for an office-supply company and as a handyman at a commercial building complex. He has not worked since the accident.

”I can't say (the settlement) will cover all my expenses but that was the objective,” Murch said.

According to court documents, he received a prosthetic with a hydraulic knee in September 2007 and was later fitted with a prosthetic with a microprocessor-controlled knee. The C-Leg, as it is known, cost more than $40,000.

”The hardest part was getting to the point where I could use a prosthetic leg,” Murch said. “I can't wear it 24 hours a day. I don't sleep with it, so I have to use a wheelchair at night.”

Had a trial proceeded before Judge Edward O'Connell, Strafaci said he would have called on Murch, his wife, his two daughters and a son-in-law to testify as well as a number of expert witnesses, including a life-care planner who would have provided estimates of Murch's future expenses. Foxwoods retained its own expert witnesses who would have provided different estimates, Strafaci said.

At the time of Murch's injury, tribal law capped the amount the court could award for pain and suffering in personal-injury cases at 100 percent of the actual damages sustained. Six months later, in May 2007, the cap was raised to 200 percent of actual damages.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Maybe, this is the kind of justice, that Mohegans should want in their courts. Maybe, if someone can't get justice, in the Mohegan Court System, , then John Strafaci, might be the person to call? What do you think?