Sunday, November 29, 2009


Lawsuit: Mohegan Sun bars at fault in fatal crash
Conn College student was killed March 7
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 25, 2009 @ 10:42 PM

The family of a 20-year-old Connecticut College student killed in a drunken driving crash has filed a wrongful death suit against the permittee and financial backers of the Mohegan Sun casino bars they claim served drinks to the man responsible for the woman’s death.

At 3:38 a.m. March 7, Elizabeth Y. Durante was in a van headed to the airport for a humanitarian mission to Uganda with a group of students when police said the van was struck by a drunken driver driving the wrong way on Interstate 395 without headlights on. The crash was near Exit 79A, the exit for Mohegan Sun.

Durante, a junior from West Islip, N.Y., was thrown from the van and killed.

Daniel E. Musser, 24, a sailor stationed at the naval submarine base in Groton, faces manslaughter charges in connection with the accident. He told police he was coming from Ultra 88, a club at Mohegan Sun. His criminal case is pending.

The suit filed Tuesday by Durante’s mother, Kathleen H. Durante, names Patrick T. Lyons, of Boston, the permittee of Ultra 88 and Lucky’s Lounge, and Plan B LLC, backer for the clubs. Lyons and a representative from Plan B could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

The suit, filed in New London Superior Court, claims Musser drank at one or both of the clubs while intoxicated before leaving the casino. The suit makes claims under the state’s Dram Shop Law, which allows for penalties of up to $250,000 against the establishment found to have served alcohol to an intoxicated person that later caused a death.

West Hartford lawyer John D. Palermo, who is representing Kathleen H. Durante in the suit, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Elizabeth Durante’s death was one of three motor vehicle fatalities in Eastern Connecticut this year linked to drivers coming from Mohegan Sun who police say were drunk at the time of the accidents.

Police said Christopher Brulotte was responsible for the April 5 crash on Interstate 395 in Norwich that killed Iris Soto, 59, of Willimantic. Lisette Oblitas-Cruz, 28, of Port Chester, N.Y., was arrested in connection with a Sept. 20 crash on Route 32 in Montville that killed a 77-year-old Norwich woman.

Both face drunken driving charges.


Christian church, Native American tribe reconcile
By VERENA DOBNIK Associated Press Writer

The Day
Published 11/28/2009 12:00

New York - Members of one of America's oldest Protestant churches officially apologized Friday - for the first time - for massacring and displacing Native Americans 400 years ago.

"We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land," the Rev. Robert Chase told descendants from both sides. "With pain, we the Collegiate Church, remember our part in these events."

The minister spoke on Native American Heritage Day at a reconciliation ceremony of the Lenape tribe with the Collegiate Church, started in 1628 in then-New Amsterdam as the Reformed Dutch Church.

The rite was held in front of the Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan, where Dutch colonizers had built their fort near an Indian trail now called Broadway, just steps away from Wall Street.

The Collegiate Church was considered the "conscience" of the new colony, whose merchants quickly developed commerce with the world in fur and grains - till then the turf of the natives.

Surrounded by Lenape Indians, the Dutch colonists "were hacking men, women and children to death," said Ronald Holloway, the chairman of the Sand Hill band of Lenapes, who lived here before Henry Hudson landed 400 years ago.

The Indians dispersed across the country, eventually ending up on government-formed reservations. On Friday, some came from as far away as Oklahoma.

During the ceremony, Chase embraced Holloway and, as symbolic gestures of healing, the two sides exchanged wampum - strings of beads used by North American Indians as money or ornament. A boy representing the Lenapes and a girl from the Collegiate Church put necklaces on each other.

While Friday's ceremony exuded warmth and openness, accompanied by an Indian drumming circle and the haunting sound of a wooden flute, the feelings leading up to the reconciliation were mixed.

"After 400 years, when someone says 'I'm sorry,' you say, 'Really?'" Holloway said before the ritual. "There was some kind of uneasiness. But then you've got to accept someone's sincere apology; they said, 'We did it.' We ran you off, we killed you.'"

In New York City, the Collegiate churches are composed of four congregations including the landmark Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue led by the late Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

The church plans to sponsor educational activities and exhibits to teach children history - including the Indian reverence for preserving the purity of the land taken over by the Dutch colonists.

Monday, November 23, 2009


As revenue falls, tribe's investors now making more than Mohegans draining assets of Mohegan tribe
By Bill Cummings, Investigative Reporter
Published: 02:27 a.m., Monday, November 23, 2009

The international investors who helped the Mohegan Indians build their casino 13 years ago are making more money from it than the tribe.

Since 2000, South African casino mogul Solomon Kerzner and his partners earned $542 million from the Mohegan Sun, the casino they helped build and finance, according to publicly available documents.

The 1,700-member Mohegan tribe, which owns the casino, earned $475 million during the same period.

In fact, the tribe's annual take from its casino has steadily dropped since 2005, while payments to Kerzner and his partners have risen.

The money pouring into Kerzner's bank accounts will continue until January 2015, when his contract with the tribe ends. Although Kerzner was instrumental in running the Sun during its early years, he has not had a management role since 2000.

Financial experts estimate that Kerzner and his partners will walk away with more than $1 billion when their contract ends, depending on how well the casino does in the future.

That huge annual obligation to Kerzner is draining the Mohegans, who are suffering from a toxic combination of dwindling revenue because of the recession, growing competition and high payments on $1.6 billion in accumulated debt.


In the early 1990s, Kerzner, a South African billionaire and casino mogul known around the world for creating mega-resorts, saw opportunity in the hills of southeastern Connecticut.

The Mohegans had gained federal recognition and, like their neighbors 10 miles away, the Mashantucket Pequot Indians, the tribe now had permission to build a casino, complete with hotels, restaurants and other resort features.

Kerzner formed a partnership with Len Wolman, a Mystic hotel chain owner and the head of the Waterford Group, and created a new company called Trading Cove Associates. Kerzner and TCA invested about $10 million in the original Sun and backed $90 million in bonds that were sold on Wall Street.

The tribe obtained $175 million in bank notes to finish the initial $280 million casino, which opened in 1996. The developer later oversaw the next phase of the Sun, a $1 billion expansion that added another casino, a new hotel and a variety of other features. That expansion opened in 2002.

For its efforts, TCA initially received as much as 40 percent of the net revenue from the casino, a hefty amount that drew criticism for being too generous. Kerzner's company was also assigned the role of managing operations at the Sun.

In 1999, Kerzner struck a new deal with the tribe that ended his management role, effective in 2000. In return, the Mohegans gave TCA five cents for every dollar spent at the casino, its restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

The new contract marked a big change for Kerzner.

Along with ending his management duties, Kerzner's take was previously calculated on the basis of net revenue, the amount the tribe kept after expenses. Now his payments were calculated against gross revenue, the total amount taken in.

For Kerzner and his partners, it was a windfall.

In 2000, the year TCA ended its management role, the developer and his partners earned $20 million. Those yearly payments grew to $77.5 million in 2007 and $76 million in 2008.

At the same time, the tribe was earning less. The tribe collected $50 million in 2000. By 2008, the tribe earned $58.2 million, $18 million less than the group led by Kerzner.


The new deal with Kerzner was immediately panned within the American Indian gaming industry as too generous. Bradley Beecher, a former head of the Connecticut State Police gaming unit who investigated Kerzner when he sought a Connecticut gaming license, said the tribe was unable to stand up to such an international business superstar.

"They got taken advantage of," Beecher said.

The National Indian Gaming Commission called the deal "egregious," and declared the management contract to be far above the legal limit, which is 30 percent of a casino's profits for no more than five years.

But as the gaming commission reviewed the complicated contract, it concluded the deal was a consulting contract, not a management contract. That meant the commission had no jurisdiction, and the deal stood.

The distinction, some call it a loophole, between a management contract and a consulting contract is allowed under the national Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which oversees Indian casino transactions and partnerships. Under the act, investors can avoid caps on their return by calling their deals anything but a management contract.

In filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, the Mohegans refer to their contract with Kerzner as a "relinquishment agreement," which at face value appears to indicate the ending of a previous relationship.

"We and TCA agreed to terminate the management agreement," the Mohegans explained in their 2008 annual report to the SEC, the most recent available. "This termination occurred on December 31, 1999. On January 1, 2000, we assumed the day-to-day management of Mohegan Sun.

"To compensate TCA for terminating its management rights, we agreed to pay to TCA five percent of revenues, as defined in the relinquishment agreement, generated by Mohegan Sun during the 15-year period commencing on January 1, 2000 and ending on December 31, 2014," the SEC filing explains.

Federal lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, attempted to change the rules and close the consulting contract loophole. But aggressive lobbying by the gaming industry, including Kerzner, foiled the attempt.

Len Wolman, Kerzner's partner in TCA, declined to comment regarding arrangements with the Mohegan tribe. He referred all questions to the tribe.

"We have a really good relationship with the Mohegans, but they comment on anything related to their facilities. You have all the public information," Wolman said.

Mohegan tribal officials did not return calls regarding TCA or Kerzner. Representatives for Kerzner did not respond to requests for comment.


When Kerzner opened his flagship casino in South Africa in 1979, the famed Sun City resort, Frank Sinatra remarked that the developer was the "world's best saloon keeper." Sun City was vintage Kerzner: a heavily themed, over-the-top resort that offered hundreds of hotel rooms, dozens of restaurants and, most importantly, huge areas for slot machines and table games.

He continued to develop international resorts, most notably the massive Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. One Kerzner company, One & One Resorts, manages seven luxury properties in the Bahamas, Mexico, Mauritius and the Maldives.

Kerzner is also involved with the Twin River slots and greyhound racing parlor, one of Rhode Island's top revenue producers. That operation recently entered bankruptcy, although state officials are backing moves to restore it to good health and keep the revenue stream pouring into state coffers.

But despite his reputation as a premier resort builder, controversy followed Kerzner from the moment he arrived in Connecticut. Former Gov. John Rowland, who later resigned and pleaded guilty to corruption charges, tried to block Kerzner from receiving a gaming license, his first in the United States.

Allegations of bribes paid to South African officials followed the developer to Connecticut, and Rowland declared the casino mogul unfit to do business in his state.

"There was serious pressure on me to make sure he didn't get a license," said Beecher, the former state police trooper who later headed the state police gaming unit.

Beecher said the bribe allegations were thoroughly investigated, a process that included sending Connecticut investigators to South Africa. In the end, Beecher concluded there was nothing to the accusations.

"Sol stood up to a very intense state police investigation. This was a 10-year-old allegation that was never prosecuted. It just did not hold weight," Beecher said.

"Everyone was saying, `Make sure this guy does not get a license.' It was so bad that Rowland hit up Wolman for season tickets to the (formerly Hartford Whalers) while we were conducting the investigation of Kerzner. I was livid.

"What was the difference between what was going on and what Kerzner was accused of doing?" Beecher said.


Kerzner and Wolman recently set their sights on a tract of land in Middleborough, Mass., and signed a deal with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to build a $1 billion casino on the rural site near Cape Cod.

The Wampanoags have identified more than 500 acres, but the federal Department of the Interior has yet to approve its application.

Casinos are a hot topic in Massachusetts, where a number of ventures are on the table, backed by recognized tribes and commercial operators.

The Mohegans proposed a casino for Palmer, Mass., pledging to serve as a commercial developer, and others are circling with similar projects.

The Massachusetts state Legislature is expected to vote next year on whether to allow gaming.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: No comment by the Mohegan Tribal Government, how come? Could it be it was a bad deal? What do you think?


Slots half full: Pace of revenue decline slows
By Brian Hallenbeck

The Day

Published 11/17/2009 12:00

News of October's slot-machine revenues at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods occasioned some celebration Monday - and some caution, too.

Mohegan Sun won $62.9 million at its machines last month, down "only" 3.8 percent over October 2008, while Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods kept $54.8 million, a 4 percent decline.

"It's hard to say it's not a step in the right direction," Mitchell Etess, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief executive officer, said. "But I don't think we can declare victory yet."

Indeed, the relatively modest decline in Mohegan Sun's win was the lowest fall-off of any month this year. The casino's slot revenue had plummeted by 11 percent in both August and September.

For the Foxwoods casinos, October's decline followed an even more modest 2.8 percent dip in September. Foxwoods, whose owner, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, announced Monday that it expects to default on a bond interest payment in 30 days, experienced declines of more than 13 percent in July and August.

The number of Foxwoods' slots-playing customers has grown in recent months, though the average amount each is wagering has yet to return to pre-recession levels, Robert Victoria, Foxwoods' senior vice president of consumer marketing, said.

"October is a transition month, where we're going from summer into winter, but the numbers are pretty solid," he said. "November looks good so far, too."

Aside from the decline in slots revenue, the casinos' hotels have been enjoying a near-100 percent occupancy rate, demonstrating Foxwoods' enduring appeal to customers, Michael Speller, president of the Foxwoods casinos, said in a statement.

Mohegan Sun, which lost some market share to Foxwoods in September, regained it last month, claiming 53.5 percent of the Connecticut slots market.

"Compared to September, we had a lot of entertainment in October," Etess said. "Generally, when we have strong entertainment, we see good results."

Mohegan Sun slots players redeemed $4.4 million in free-play coupons in October, while just under $4 million in free-play coupons were redeemed at the Foxwoods casinos. Etess said Mohegan Sun offered more free play than usual because of one particular promotion during the month.

Mohegan Sun forwarded nearly $16 million in slot win to the state, while Foxwoods contributed $13.7 million.

Mohegan Sun held 8.19 percent of the $768.1 million wagered on its more than 6,700 machines last month, an average daily win per machine of $301.63. The Foxwoods casinos, which operate nearly 7,500 machines, held 8.63 percent of their "handle" of $635 million for a daily win per unit of $236.82.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Ex-Mashantucket official found guilty of fraud
By Karen Florin

The Day

Published 11/20/2009 12:00 AMUpdated 11/20/2009 01:43 AM0

A Hartford jury delivered guilty verdicts Thursday in the wire fraud case of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal member Christopher M. Pearson.

The jury listened to two weeks of testimony in U.S. District Court before finding Pearson guilty of eight counts of wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 when Judge Robert N. Chatigny sentences him Feb. 5.

The jury determined that the 50-year-old former deputy chief operating officer for the tribe defrauded a number of investors out of $280,000 that he obtained from them based upon his representations that he would purchase land on the Island of Roatan, Honduras, on their behalf.

According to court testimony, Pearson told the investors the land ultimately would be used for a resort and casino project that the tribe was sponsoring.

During the trial, prosecutors Eric J. Glover and David T. Huang said Pearson had used the money for boats, cars, vacations and improvements to his waterfront home on Roatan.

Pearson, represented by attorneys Jeremiah Donovan and Conrad Seifert, testified that the investor funds were seed money to cover operating expenses for the development. Pearson, who said he is still working on the project, described his dream development at length on the witness stand.

Pearson was the defendant in a civil trial earlier this year in Mashantucket Pequot tribal court that involved the same project but different investors. There has been no decision in that case.

Friday, November 20, 2009


NL courts see frequent embezzlement cases
By Karen Florin

The Day

Published 11/20/2009 12:00 AMUpdated 11/20/2009 01:41 AM0

The scenario has become all too familiar in the corner of the state that houses two of the world's largest casinos: Longtime employees, seemingly above suspicion, embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed a gambling addiction.

Two such cases came to light in the past two days in New London Superior Court.

On Thursday, the former business manager for the Lakeside Condominium Association in Gales Ferry was arraigned on charges of first-degree larceny and third-degree forgery.

Cynthia S. Eddy, 52, of 9 Tanglewood Drive, Preston, broke down and admitted her gambling addiction when she was confronted by condominium association officers and Ledyard police, according to an arrest warrant. She is accused of stealing $294,400 from the association between 2005 and May 2009. During the same time period, she lost $226,400 in slot machines at Foxwoods Resort Casino and $63,884 at Mohegan Sun.

The condominium association began investigating in May, when Bank of America contacted it about "inconsistencies" in the association's bank account. Bank officials produced a number of checks made out to Eddy that contained forged signatures of association officers. A forensic auditor commissioned by the association found that Eddy made $294,427 in unauthorized disbursements.

Eddy, who had served as the association's business manager since 1984, was responsible for handling maintenance requests, collecting association fees and paying bills. In an interview with Ledyard detective Richard J. Pasqualini Jr., she admitted writing checks to herself, forging the required signatures of two condominium officers and recording the withdrawals as vendor payments.

A day earlier, 53-year-old Beverly Howard of Westerly was charged with embezzling $334,778 while serving as the dining services director for the company that runs the food service program at East Lyme schools. Her gambling losses amounted to more than $381,000. She admitted she had played slot machines at both of the area casinos with cash she took out of cafeteria revenues before making the daily deposits into the school lunch fund. She said she created false deposit logs to cover the thefts.

Spike in cases

A 2009 gambling-impact study commissioned by the General Assembly and performed by New Jersey-based Spectrum Gaming Group revealed a 400 percent increase in embezzlement cases in southeastern Connecticut since Foxwoods, the older of the area's two tribally owned casinos, opened in 1992. Police made 43 embezzlement arrests in 1991, the year before Foxwoods opened, and 214 in 2007, the report says.

The local court system does not have the technology or staffing to keep a running database of gambling embezzlement cases, but the attorneys who have prosecuted and defended these clients, and the judges who have sentenced them, have gained a solid working knowledge of this type of crime.

"These cases just fit the pattern we've seen for a long time now," said Lawrence J. Tytla, supervisory assistant state's attorney in New London Superior Court. "They are people with no criminal record, with responsible jobs, that apparently get involved in gambling, lose control and find themselves committing crimes to support their habit."

Defense attorneys now routinely advise their clients to begin problem-gambling treatment before they appear before a judge. New London Judge Susan B. Handy, who has sentenced gambling-addicted town tax collectors and accountants for embezzlement along with car-dealership managers, private-duty nurses and others who stole from private companies, often references the "template" of these defendants. They are usually female, though not always. They are typically middle-aged and older, have no criminal history and, until now, have "been an exemplary and giving individual."

'How could they?'

While those involved in the judicial system have gained a better understanding of the problem, the public at large does not grasp the nature of gambling addictions, according to those who work with problem gamblers.

"How could they?" is a typical reaction to news of an employee's embezzlement.

"I think what most people don't appreciate, including many clinicians, is the biological aspects of problem gambling - that gambling changes somebody's internal neurochemistry the same way substances do," said Lori Rugle, director of problem gambling services for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. "The brain gets hijacked just as it does with alcohol and other drugs. The thinking becomes very irrational when you add the gambling and the desperation and the anxiety and confusion. People cannot really think straight under the influence of gambling. Their brain goes on tilt."

Rugle, whose staff works with many of the trusted-employees-turned-thief, says once the gambling addict has stopped gambling, they too, ask, "How could I?" The gambler steals with the intent of borrowing the money temporarily, winning, and then paying it back, she said. That outcome is rare, indeed, but the gambler does not see any other solution, she said.

"The delusion increases as the desperation increases," she said. "Their brains kind of get locked in."

Casinos cooperative

Another typical reaction to gambling embezzlement is to ask whether the casinos could have done something to prevent them. Marvin A. Steinberg, executive director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, says the Connecticut casinos have done more to prevent problem gambling than most. The casinos fund a large portion of the council's budget.

All of the country's large casinos gather enormous amounts of information about their guests through player's club databases, Steinberg said. The casinos track how much the player's club member spends on each visit and what games they like to play. The casinos reward the players with "comp" points and use player gambling profiles to devise targeted marketing programs.

"One of the problems the community usually has is, if they are gathering that much information about someone, they ought to know that people can't afford to be doing what they're doing," Steinberg said.

Many people think the casinos should "flag" patrons whose losses are "increasing and increasing and increasing," he said. But every player has a different amount of money they can afford to lose, he said. In any case, the casinos here and everywhere, like other businesses, have not opened their proprietary databases to anyone.

"I'm not saying that if they opened up their databank to me or anyone else I could tell you who the compulsive gamblers are," Steinberg said.

Steinberg said both of the local casinos have provided training to shift managers and other employees to help them recognize and deal with problem gamblers. He said the casinos have called him to consult with gamblers in crisis, though it is rare.

The casinos prominently display the state's problem-gambling hotline number on ATM machines and elsewhere and offer patrons with gambling problems the option of excluding themselves from their properties.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Casino developer injured in auto crash
Tuesday, November 17 | 4:44 p.m.


Cowlitz casino developer David Barnett was in serious condition Tuesday afternoon after a Monday morning car crash.

Barnett, 49, was critically injured and unconscious after being thrown from the bed of a Toyota pickup at 6 a.m. Monday in Shoreline, police said.

No other vehicles were involved, the King County sheriff's office said. The pickup's female driver, 36, was uninjured.

The accident occurred five blocks from Barnett's $1.3 million home on Puget Sound.

An emergency vehicle rushed Barnett to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Sgt. John Urquhart of the sheriff's office.

By Tuesday afternoon, his condition had improved from "critical" to "serious," according to a hospital spokeswoman, meaning Barnett's life was not in immediate danger.

Detectives for the King County Sheriff's Office were investigating the accident as a possible case of vehicular assault, Urquhart said.

That charge is used in cases of reckless driving or use of drugs or alcohol.

Urquhart described the pickup's driver as Barnett's "live-in roommate, whatever you want to call her."

He said a sample of her blood has been sent to a state lab and is likely to return in six to eight weeks.

Barnett, a Shoreline resident and real-estate developer, is the son of longtime Cowlitz Indian Tribe chairman John Barnett, who died last year.

In 2001, David Barnett bought 69 acres just west of La Center's interstate junction.

The Longview-based tribe has since applied for that land to become their first reservation, the site of a proposed $510 million casino complex.

Until last year, Barnett owned 43 percent of the partnership that aimed to develop the casino and receive 24 percent of its net revenues.

Last November, Barnett sold an unknown share of that partnership to the California-based Paskenta Band of the Nomlaki Indians for an undisclosed sum.

Barnett is also a politically active residential developer in the Seattle area.

Tribal spokesman Phil Harju said Tuesday that Barnett is a Cowlitz member but not a tribal council member or employee.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave and his family," Harju said.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Mashantuckets set to default on loan payment
About $7 million in interest still owed.

For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 16, 2009 @ 11:37 PM

.The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation was unable to meet the full semi-annual interest payment due Monday on a $500 million 8.5 percent note, and is unlikely to pay the balance within the 30-day grace period, which ends Dec. 16.

As a result, the tribe would go into default.

The trustee for the tribe paid approximately $14.2 million of the $21.25 million on notes due in 2015.

“The tribe does not currently anticipate the remaining amounts due will be paid within the grace period,” the tribe said in a prepared statement.

As announced on Oct. 26, the tribe entered into a forbearance agreement with its senior lenders that extends through Jan. 20, 2010.

Saddled with debt and suffering the impact of the recession, the Mashantuckets are negotiating to restructure more than $2 billion in debt.

The tribe said the restructuring efforts will not affect guests, employees, suppliers or business partners at Foxwoods or MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

The debt burden won’t affect casino hotel operations, said analyst Roger Gros of Global Gaming Magazine.

“Eventually they’ll refinance for a longer term or higher interest,” he said. “The tribe has deep pockets, so it’s not a big problem.”

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Could this happen to the Mohegans? Is the financial problems facing the Mohegans going to cause the same kind of situation? What do you think?


Swine flu death total hits 17 in Connecticut
Published 11/17/2009 12:00

PUTNAM, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut health officials say a patient who died at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam has been confirmed as the state's 17th swine flu fatality since April.

Officials say the person was between the ages of 25 and 49 and had underlying medical conditions. The date of the death was not released. It's the first swine flu death in Windham County.

Seven people have died from the H1N1 virus in Connecticut since the second wave of swine flu began at the end of August. Health officials say all of them had other medical problems.

The state Department of Public Health says 109 people with swine flu were hospitalized in the state between Aug. 30 and Nov. 10. During the first wave from April to Aug. 29, 10 people died and 144 were hospitalized.

Monday, November 16, 2009


New York must cut, not raise taxes, fees
November 15, 2009, 8:08 AM / 9 comments

Apparently, the state of New York doesn’t get it. If this state wants to keep and attract business and residents, then here’s the solution: cut taxes and fees. Otherwise, for New York State to continue charging obscene taxes and fees means Albany deserves to lose revenue to lower-price entities such as Indian tribal gas/tobacco stores, out-of-state purveyors and even Internet-based providers.

It’s very simple: People want a bargain, and will pursue it wherever it is to be found. If New York State, and the entities in it, want people to “stay home” and do business, then cut taxes and fees and watch that business start doing wonders.

I have no sympathy for the gas/cigarette stores away from the tribe who “cry poor” because people choose the Indian places over them. If they would cut their prices to comparable levels, they’d get more business.

The people in Albany, starting with Gov. David Paterson, would be wise to either leave the Indians alone and let consumer choice prevail, or start finding/ creating ways to make doing business in this state more attractive.

Lloyd A. Marshall Jr.




Recently, I received a call telling me that the WHITE ELEPHANT was loosing its skin, on top of a hill on the Mohegan Reservation.

The WHITE ELEPHANT turned out to be the new Mohegan Tribal Government Community Center building. What was happening was the shrink wrap was tearing or ripping off the building. We have been informed that Grey Wolf and another company are doing the repairs. When I looked at it, you could barely tell it had ripped. Good job Grey Wolf.

Some tribal members have said the place is jinxed or possessed. Bad vibrations. Not a good place. Could that possibly be true?

One thing is obviously apparent, why did the Mohegan Tribal Government, (the Mohegan Tribal Council) ever start building this WHITE ELEPHANT, that no one seems to want?

Should we hold Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, Lynn Malerba, James Gessner, William Quidgeon, Allison Johnson, Thayne Hutchins, Mark Brown, and Cheryl Todd responsible for this WHITE ELEPHANT? These are the people who voted to build the WHITE ELEPHANT.

What will newly elected Kathy Regan-Pyne do about this situation?

Should it ever be finished? Who builds a building that doesn't have the finances in place to do it? If they (the Mohegan Tribal Council) ever restart the project, how much will the financing cost us (the Mohegan Tribe)? At what interest rate?

Will it be at between 11% to 12%, like the Casino recently agreed to pay to borrow $200 Million ($200,000,000.00)? THE ORIGINAL LOANS WERE REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN BETWEEN 3% TO 4%. Not a good situation. Not smart business. Should the MTGA (the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority) be made to explain this?

The MTGA's credit rating is CCC-. Is that true? Are they at JUNK BONDS Status?

I believe in the near future, Mohegan Tribal members will be asked to make sacrifices, because of the financial situation the Mohegan Tribal Council has put us in. One of the reasons for our (the Mohegan Tribe's) financial woes is the building of the WHITE ELEPHANT.


Is the new Mohegan Tribal Government Community Center truly a WHITE ELEPHANT? Is Mother Earth trying to tell us something, by the winds ripping the shrink wrap? What do you think?



Horse racing slots installed at Mohegan Sun.

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 13, 2009 @ 11:34 PM


Mohegan, Conn. — .Mohegan Sun has installed 12 new horse-racing slot machines near the entrance of its Race Book, or off-track betting room.

Produced by IGT, the machines are called Triple Towers Virtual Horse Racing and feature a 56-inch LCD monitor showing virtual racetrack action.

For $3 per game players are able to make six racing bets including win, place, show, and exacta. “Triple Towers Virtual Horse Racing speaks volumes on how innovative the industry has become and we are excited to be the first facility on the East Coast to bring racing to our guests,” Vice President of Slots Frank Neborsky, said in a press release.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Mohegan Sun $500K-Guaranteed Fall Showdown Begins SatMohegan Sun Will Allow Players to Buy Into Events Using Players Club Points
by Ryan Lucchesi | Published: Nov 13, 2009 | E-mail Author

The Mohegan Sun $500,000-guaranteed Fall Showdown tournament series will begin on Saturday, Nov. 14 with a three-day, $400 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that has a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000. The series will run for nine days total in New England, and it will offer 10 events. The series will also guarantee $500,000 in overall prize pools provided by the Mohegan Sun Casino. All tournaments will spread no-limit hold’em. Special events include a six-handed no-limit hold’em tournament and a survivor no-limit hold’em tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as well as a bounty no-limit hold’em tournament on Sunday, Nov. 22. Players who participate in the Fall Showdown will be eligible for discounted room rates. Contact the Mohegan Sun poker room for poker player rates.

“We are excited to give our players the opportunity to participate in a quality tournament with affordable buy-ins,” said Bruce Dixon, director of poker for Mohegan Sun. “The $500,000-guaranteed Fall Showdown is structured for our guests, and we look to maintain the momentum Mohegan Sun poker has built.”

A unique feature for this tournament series is that players will be able to buy into the tournaments using their players club points. Players can take advantage of this feature during the upcoming tournament season at Mohegan Sun by redeeming two players club points for one tournament dollar.

The tournament series will conclude with a $150,000 guaranteed no-limit hold’em tournament that begins on Friday, Nov. 20 and crowns a winner on Sunday, Nov. 22. Players can purchase a seat or use players club points for this event. They can also win their seat in $80 multi-table satellites that will run at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16, 17, and 19.

Here is a look at the full schedule for the $500,000 Guaranteed Fall Showdown:

Saturday, Nov. 14: Event No. 1 ($400 no-limit hold’em — $200,000 guaranteed)
Monday, Nov. 16: Event No. 2 ($200 no-limit hold’em — $20,000 guaranteed)
Tuesday, Nov. 17: Event No. 3 ($250 no-limit hold’em — $50,000 guaranteed)
Tuesday, Nov. 17: Event No. 4 ($180 no-limit hold’em — $15,000 guaranteed)
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Event No. 5 ($180 six-handed no-limit hold’em — $10,000 guaranteed)
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Event No. 6 ($150 survivor no-limit hold’em)
Thursday, Nov. 19: Event No. 7 ($230 no-limit hold’em — $35,000 guaranteed)
Thursday, Nov. 19: Event No. 8 ($120 no-limit hold’em — $10,000 guaranteed)
Friday, Nov. 20: Event No. 9 ($300 no-limit hold’em — $150,000 guaranteed)
Sunday, Nov. 22: Event No. 10 ($330 bounty no-limit hold’em – $10,000 guaranteed)

Tags: mohegan sun, poker tournament, fall showdown, $500,000 guaranteed, new england, players club points


Saturday, November 14, 2009


N.Y. woman arrested at Mohegan Sun in counterfeit credit card use.

By Staff reports
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 13, 2009 @ 07:04 AM


Mohegan, Conn. — .A Queens, N.Y., woman was arrested Thursday at Mohegan Sun in connection with the use of a counterfeit credit card, according the state police.

Svetlana Turakaeva, 20, of 6519 79th Place, Queens, N.Y., was arrested without incident after she attempted to purchase items at the Puma Store and the manager became suspicious, police say.

Tribal police officers were alerted and Turakaeva was stopped before she left the casino. Investigation revealed the same credit card was used at the Godiva Store.

Turakaeva was held on $600 cash bond. She is scheduled to appear Dec. 3 in Norwich Superior Court.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Kenosha Mayor Hoping for Casino
By Marge Pitrof
November 12, 2009 | WUWM | Milwaukee, WI

Kenosha is sitting tight several days after Dairyland Greyhound Park announced it will close at year’s end. That means the loss of 180 jobs. The dog track opened nearly 20 years ago, when it was one of the few types of gambling allowed in Wisconsin. Since then, tribal casinos have sprouted up, luring most gamblers. In fact, Dairyland will be the last dog track to close; it’s been losing millions of dollars. Keith Bosman, Kenosha's mayor, says he hopes the Menominee Nation wins permission from the courts and government to build a casino on the site.


(Bosman adds that next week, his city will begin meeting with owners of the old Chrysler factory. The auto industry has also eliminated jobs in Kenosha. Bosman says the city wants to acquire the property and prepare it for possible use by Italian automaker Fiat.)

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: With the Mayor of Kenosha wanting a casino, and the track people wanting a casino, and a closed Chrysler factory, maybe the Menominee will get a casino. Will the Mohegans help them out? Are the Mohegans out of the game? How many millions did the Mohegans invest in this venture? What do you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Obama administration knocks Carcieri ruling
House comes closer to making a fix
By Rob Capriccioso

Story Published: Nov 12, 2009

Story Updated: Nov 6, 2009

WASHINGTON – It took a few months for Obama officials to take a clear public stand on the controversial Supreme Court’s Carcieri v. Salazar ruling, but when they did, they came out swinging.

Some administration officials, including Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation, had long been hinting that the February ruling was wrong.

The court’s decision has effectively restricted Interior’s ability to take land into trust for tribes federally recognized after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 became law.

The administration’s position grew more pronounced during a media conference call involving Interior Department and White House officials held Nov. 4.

“There is a problem here that has to be fixed,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Kim Teehee, White House senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs, elaborated, saying the administration supports a legislative fix whereby all tribes can benefit from the land into trust process regardless of their date of federal recognition. Teehee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

The day after the call, the administration made its case before a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee on Capitol Hill.

The hearing was aimed at discussing two bills, H.R. 3742, sponsored by Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., which would amend the IRA to reaffirm the authority of the secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes, and H.R. 3697, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., which has a nearly identical intention. Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Donald Laverdure, deputy assistant secretary of Indian affairs at Interior, testified that the department applauds both bills. He is a citizen of the Crow Tribe of Montana.

“The department was, and continues to be, disappointed in the court’s ruling in the Carcieri case.

“The decision was not consistent with the longstanding policy and practice of the United States to assist all tribes in establishing and protecting a land base sufficient to allow them to provide for the health, welfare, and safety of tribal members, and in treating tribes alike regardless of the date of acknowledgment.”

Laverdure said the decision has disrupted the process for acquiring land in trust for recognized tribes by imposing new and undefined requirements on applications now pending before Interior.

While several members of the committee agreed that there must be a Carcieri fix, there was some wariness presented by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., who opposes a “fast track” land into trust fix. He wants to hear from state and local governments before taking action.

Some states’ rights advocates and others have taken strong stances against a legislative fix, fearing the consequences of more lands going back to tribes.

One such opponent who made an appearance at the hearing was Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. He testified that he supports tribal sovereignty, but opposes a Carcieri fix.

He said lawmakers should consider whether the pre-Carcieri system is still necessary to achieve the original goals of the IRA. He also made the case that states and localities are harmed in many ways when tribes receive lands, such as by reducing tax revenues.

Blumenthal predicted 10 more years of litigation if a land into trust fix passes Congress.

Several tribal leaders, including some who testified at the hearing, have said the Obama administration is right to support a fix, as tribes should not be treated differently and many have historical claims to more land of what is now known as the United States.

“If this decision is not addressed, there will be ‘haves’ (those who can take land into trust) and ‘have nots’ in Indian country,” said Sandra Klineburger, chairwoman of the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.

“Our community knows what it is like to be part of the ‘have nots.’”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Town of Southampton, New York and the Shinnecock Indian Tribe, are working to draft legislation that would protect Native American and colonial graves.

According to sources, the Southampton Town Board met with George Stankevich, (an attorney who represents the Shinnecock Tribe), historians and others, to help deliberate on the legislation.

Councilwoman Nancy Graboski called the legislation, "a work in progress. This is a living document."

The Shinnecocks are allegedly upset about a Native American "mass grave" that was desecrated on Shelter Island several years ago.

Recently, a human skull was found at the site of the former St. James Hotel. The skull was thought to have been from a Native American.

Dan Adams,Southampton Town Attorney stated that potential problems (possible litigation) exist in the future because of the delicate balance of property rights and grave protection.

Linda Kabot, Southampton Town Supervisor discussed possible problems, for example if a homeowner wanted to put in a pool and a grave was discovered. Building approvals, etc. could be revoked because of the discovery, leading to litigation.

One idea, is that when a homeowner goes to purchase property in the town he would be appraised of the legislation about graves and therefore no litigation would occur.

Rebecca Genia, a Shinnecock grave protection committee member said, "Policy is not enough. This law is necessary."

George Stankevick said, "No one has property rights on someone's grave. You don't desecrate a grave with a pool. No one has the right to toss out a body to put in a garage."

All Native Americans should support the Shinnecock Tribe in this Quest. What do you think?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Foxwoods donating tickets to active, ex-military personnel

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 08, 2009 @ 11:43 PM

Mashantucket, Conn. — In appreciation of active duty and retired New England military families, Foxwoods Resort Casino is donating thousands of tickets to Cirque Dreams Holidaze Spectacular and the Broadway production Hairspray.

In addition, 1,000 tickets are being donated as a part of the promotion by the celebrity impersonation production: Legends in Concert.

Free show tickets to military families are available at the information ticket and tours office at the Navy submarine base in Groton.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and eligible recipients will be allowed up to four tickets per show. The office is in Building 164 at the base.

For more information, call Norma Walters at the office at (860) 694-3238.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Should the Mohegan Sun do the same thng? What do you think?

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Foxwoods’ Philadelphia plan stands at crossroad

By William Sokolic
For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Nov 06, 2009 @ 11:41 PM

Philadelphia — It’s been a long, hard road for Foxwoods Development Company in its bid to open a casino along the South Philadelphia waterfront.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board accepted the company’s bid in December 2006 to build a stand-alone casino complex. But after opposition from neighborhood groups, the city suggested Foxwoods look toward the center of the city, in the area of a major shopping district called The Gallery.

Two sites were proposed. Two sites were shot down, again because of community anger.

Moreover, the city dragged its feet, ignoring an April 2008 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling directing Philadelphia to approve zoning for the original site. A month later, the gaming board issued a license with the proviso that 1,500 slot machines be ready for business one year later.

When May rolled around, Foxwoods asked for more time because of “numerous obstacles beyond its control.” The gaming board agreed to a new date of May 20, 2011, but with an ultimatum that Foxwoods turn its attention back to the original waterfront site.

“We were pleased and encouraged by the board’s decision to extend the license,” said Gary D. Armentrout, president of the St. Louis-based Foxwoods Development Company, an arm of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “They are as anxious to get opened fast as we are. This is the first time in a long time we made significance progress on that site.”

With less than 20 months left on the deadline, the question before the development company and its Philadelphia partners is whether it would be wiser to build an interim casino — one that could be incorporated into the final design — or a temporary one that would be torn down once a permanent venue is finished, Armentrout said.

While both would provide the minimum 1,500 slot machines, an interim version is preferable, he said.

“We’ve put conceptual designs on paper, and we are working through them right now,” Armentrout said. “The concern that has risen is whether we could be opened by the date because an interim facility would take longer to build and open. A temporary would be faster.”

A temporary venue is not unheard of to get the slot revenue going to help finance a permanent one, said Clyde W. Barrow, director of the Center for Policy and Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“With an interim, it could take longer to get such revenues,” Barrow said.

And such casinos are often well constructed.

“They’re not a tent or a tin can,” Barrow said.

The gaming board would need to approve a decision to go temporary.

“A temporary casino would be a substantial change for board review,” spokesman Richard McGarvey said.

Should the date come without a casino, then what?

“It is in our purview to lift the license,” McGarvey said.

One thing is certain. Unless the gaming board says otherwise, Foxwoods is in for the long haul.
“I do not think they can afford to give up the potential of a very lucrative Philadelphia market,” Barrow said.

If Massachusetts introduces casinos, Foxwoods would be affected by a loss of business.

“This is part of a larger diversification process to cushion it against such losses,” Barrow said.

Friday, November 6, 2009


UPDATED: 8:36 pm CST November 5, 2009

MILWAUKEE -- Dozens of Dairyland Greyhound Park workers rallied to try and save their jobs on Thursday.

The workers demonstrated in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Milwaukee.

They're trying to gather support from Wisconsin's two senators to help persuade the U.S. interior secretary to approve building a casino at the Kenosha dog track.

The Menominee tribe has been trying to put a casino inside there for years and hopes of saving the financially troubled track.

"This needs to get approved. This has been on the desk for 10 years and we need to move forward and start creating jobs like has been promised," Jeff Deavers, Dairyland Greyhound Park said.

Dairyland's management has until Nov. 16 to decide whether or not to keep the dog track open.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Maybe, the workers at Dairyland can save the dog track, and somehow open the door for a casino at the dog track. Maybe, the Menominee who had partnered with the Mohegans, will get to open a casino. Are the Mohegans at this point out of the deal? Will this happen? What do you think?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Mohegan Sun officals tout potential jobs, other benefits of proposed Palmer casino
By Pamela Metaxas
November 04, 2009, 11:28PM

CHICOPEE - Mohegan Sun officials and consultants Wednesday night hosted the second in a series of “community conversations,” this time in Chicopee, touting the many benefits of a Western Massachusetts casino including jobs, spin-offs to the local economy and enhancement of the entire region.

Peter J. Schultz, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority project coordinator, hosted the event at the Days Inn on Memorial Drive from 5 to 7 p.m.

Schultz, as well as Ashley H. Hause, account coordinator for consultants O’Neill and Associates of Boston, said the informal gatherings kicked off with the first one on Oct. 27 at the Springfield Sheraton. Future events are planned for Springfield, Agawam and Ludlow, although details are not final.

The series on the authority’s proposed casino off Thorndike Street in Palmer is an outreach to the public, business leaders and other community organizations to discuss the most significant economic opportunities for the region.

Legislators may consider bills for legalizing casino gambling in the state in January.

Brendan G. Doherty, a resident of Forest Park Manor in Springfield, attended the meeting and said he is in favor of a casino.

While enjoying refreshments, Doherty said, “It will bring jobs. When people complain about the types of jobs, I say, half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. I like the land in Palmer for a casino,” said Doherty.

Several members of the Pioneer Valley Jobs Coalition attended to lend their support for the casino, saying it will have multiple benefits, particularly for jobs, in the region.

George R. Monte, a coalition member, said, “It’s definitely about the jobs. I worked for a casino in Indiana for 3 1/2 years in security and I saw what it did for the town and community - all the jobs it created.”

Monte and his wife, Carol, moved to Lawrenceburg, Ind., when her job at Proctor and Gamble brought them to that state, but they kept their home in Monson.

Monte worked on a casino boat on the Ohio River which has since been replaced by an even larger casino boat, he said.

While he could not gamble because of his employment, Monte’s wife said they brought family and friends there frequently.

“It is such fun and a good time and its all about benefits to the towns. It turned this town around,” she said.

The Springfield meeting was attended by Palmer casino opponent EmmaLadd Shepherd, of Monson, co-president of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos. She counted predatory gambling, gambling addiction and traffic among the reasons she is opposed to the Palmer casino. Shepherd said the construction jobs may pay well, but she has heard the opposite about the casino jobs.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Is this the same Peter Schultz, who was the Vice Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, under Chairman Mark Brown? How are the Mohegans going to fund this project? At what interest rate? Are they going to pay 11% to 12% like they (the Mohegan Tribe) agreed to, for $200 Million ($200,000,000.00) just recently? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Stating Their Case
Senecas Oppose Cigarette Tax Collection At State Hearing

By Sharon Turano
POSTED: October 28, 2009

NEW YORK - While the New York State Police are worried about a confrontation if the state tries to block the sale of tax-free cigarettes on New York's Indian reservations, local Seneca Nation of Indian officials say the ongoing discussion could be an opening to establish a lasting peace.

The state held a hearing Tuesday called by state Sen. Craig Johnson, D-Nassau, to discuss tax collections on sales made to non-Indians on reservations and why they have not been collected, and busloads of Seneca Nation residents attended to discuss why they oppose such collections.

Previous attempts to collect state taxes on reservation commerce drew protests from Senecas, who said further attempts will lead to them defending treaties the nation has made with the federal government.

"We will never allow the state to tax our commerce," said Tribal Councilor J.C. Seneca during the hearings. "No other government has the right to interfere. We will fight to uphold these rights now and forever.''

Peter Kiernan, Gov. David Paterson's chief legal counsel, said a New York State Police threat assessment predicted the cost of enforcing tax collections on cigarettes sold on reservations could approach $2 million a day - a figure based on the state's experiences when it tried to impose cigarette taxes in 1992 and 1997 - and fears collection could lead to violence and possibly escalate into a ''military problem.''

There is another way, however, Seneca said.

"It's a chance to work to establish lasting peace," Seneca said about what could happen if the state chooses to work with the Senecas rather than start a confrontation. He said the nation has its own Import/Export Commission with a stamping agent, sales prohibitions to minors and a regulation that does not allow for more than 49 cartons of cigarettes to be sold per transaction. He said the nation has worked with U.S. and local law enforcement and generates funding for the state from its sales as customers to its land have money left to use off-territory.

Seneca said the state has created its own problems by increasing taxes and driving consumers away from taxable sales.

"It's true your citizens don't pay your taxes," he said about those who look elsewhere for tax-free sales. Despite that, he said, the nation will never be New York's scapegoat.

"You have a tax problem," said Seneca Counsel Bob Porter. "It's just not us."

When Sen. Martin Golden asked if an agreement could be negotiated to deal with the tax issue, Seneca said agreements have already been made and referred to existing treaties. When asked if Senecas would resort to violence, Seneca said he does not condone violence. He said, however, when tax collection attempts were previously tried, state police "invaded" Seneca territory.

"What would you do if somebody invaded your neighborhood?" Seneca asked.

He said Senecas cannot be forced to become tax collectors for the state, but rather have been promised "free use and enjoyment" of their lands by the federal government.

While some senators at the hearings agreed with the Senecas' stance, others called for tax collections to begin in spring. They reported New Yorkers have had to suffer from high taxes and are facing budget cuts while a revenue source remains uncollected. Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, said he favors a ''drop dead'' date to start charging the tax whether there is an agreement or not.

Gov. Paterson's representatives speaking at the hearing, however, said once state police costs are taken into account to quell unrest from collections, tax collections would not be financially beneficial.

If the state chooses to forego the tax collection efforts, Seneca still may have a request toward the goal of respect: changing the decor of the governor's office.

Seneca told of how he feels each time he enters that office and sees decor featuring a Native American being killed. He questioned how senators would feel if Senecas decorated their leaderships' chambers with a Native American killing a white man and then invited senators to come in to discuss mutual respect.

"We delivered a message. We needed to provide perspective,'' said Seneca later about the hearings he said went well.

Seneca maintaining sovereignty needs to be kept when discussing issues, including taxes, with Senecas.

"It makes us who we are today," he said.