Monday, February 28, 2011


Beverly Jensen: Shinnecock Nation exercises free speech right
Monday, February 28, 2011

"We wrote an article for a tribal publication that wound up putting us on that collision course. The first thing we did was to voice a protest. The article was crisp. It brimmed with facts and figures. It was descriptive to the nines. The People had a right to know. (Yes, we went there.)

That defensive maneuver hardly mattered. We wound up squashing our perfect epistle ourselves, satisfied that at least we’d taken a stand on behalf of the most traditional law in all of the Shinnecock culture — the right of free speech. We know this because we invented it long before an amendment was a glint in a constitution’s eye. We are born into it, nurtured on it, thrive on it and exercise our right to free discourse at the drop of a hat. We can orate, argue, discuss and orally disseminate like no others. Any outsider who has ever had the experience of attending one of our tribe meetings can attest to that.

But this is about the article that we squashed, not a tribe meeting. We tossed the article ourselves because the greater truth is, we are a member of the Tribe. As such, we were taught to heed voiced concerns. Our survival depends upon each and every one of us expressing ourselves, each and everyone of us lending an ear, or two. We are weaned on the wisdom that the fight for survival is not about one individual, or one slightly dented ego, or one article with which a few somebodies took issue.

We are The People of a long march through time, one foot in front of the other, at least until the horse and buggy came along and we were able to hitch rides. These days we’re driving, and who knows how the next seven generations will move towards another millennium. Fly, maybe, as in a gaggle of geese, in formation, flapping onward to the next century."


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Seneca Nation Leaders Meet With Gov. Cuomo's Staff
By WKBW Programming

Seneca Nation Leaders Meet With Gov. Cuomo's Staff
February 22, 2011 Updated Feb 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM EST

ALBANY, NY, Feb. 22, 2011 – (release) Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter and other Seneca leaders today met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff in Albany in the first face-to-face meeting on issues dividing their governments.

Porter, along with other Seneca leaders and the governor’s staff, met for 95 minutes at the Capitol.

“We had an interesting first meeting. We committed to meeting again. We discussed the multitude of issues that confront the Nation and invited further dialogue. We explained to the governor through his key staff that our treaties and sovereignty will not be compromised,” Porter said.

“Our message to the governor was: What’s good for the Seneca Nation is good for Western New York and, ultimately, the state as a whole.”

Also attending the meeting was Council Chairman Richard Nephew and Nation Chief Counsel Chris Karns. Prior to meeting with the executive branch, the Seneca leaders also met with staff of the Senate Republican majority. Secretary to the Governor Steve Cohen attended part of the meeting, which was with Counsel to the Governor Mylan Denerstein.

“The Seneca Nation is fully committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue with the governor on these very important issues, which extend beyond the longstanding tobacco tax dispute,” said Nephew. “This is also yet another opportunity for the Seneca to educate and inform the leaders in New York State on the significant treaty relationship we have with the United States, to remind them what those obligations entail and to revisit the more contemporary agreements that have been made with the Seneca. It goes without saying that those agreements – the treaties and compacts – must be honored and fulfilled.”

Porter today also released contents of a letter he delivered to Gov. Cuomo’s staff when the two met briefly in Jamestown after the governor’s speech there Jan. 13. The letter basically outlined the agenda and subjects for discussions at today’s meeting.

In the letter, the president called for working together for the future growth and success of Western New York.

Porter, elected the same day as Cuomo last November, wrote:
“The lesson of the Nation’s success is simple – when the state accepts and recognizes the Nation’s sovereignty and treaty rights, good things happen for both Senecas and non-Indians alike. Conversely, when the state pursues short-sighted policies that disrespect the Nation’s unique status, both our governments suffer,” Porter wrote in his 3½-page January letter.
In the January letter, Porter listed “The Challenges,” and “The Opportunities.”

The challenges include: Violation of treaty-protected rights; taxation of commerce with non-Indians; violation of “exclusivity provision” under Nation/State Casino Compact; illegal use of Nation lands by New York State Thruway; Southern Tier Expressway “Unkept Promises;” New York State Police and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Regulatory Overcharges; West Valley Nuclear Contamination; New York State Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction; Ganondagan State Historic Site, near Rochester.

For opportunities, he listed the potential benefits on the regional and upstate economies of long-term agreements. Porter concluded:

“By definition, the Seneca people are permanent residents of what is now called Western New York. Since we anticipate that New Yorkers will also remain resident in our area for quite some time, we therefore have a long-term interest in the future growth and success of this region – an interest that I know you and I have in common.”

Specifically on the challenges, Porter wrote:
· Violation of treaty rights: “In 2010, Gov. Paterson and the State Legislature initiated a new effort to assess state excise taxes on the tobacco commerce occurring on Nation lands. The Nation views this effort as an affront to our sovereignty and a violation of our treaty-protected right to the ‘free use and enjoyment of our lands.’ In addition, the state’s effort violates the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 that expressly recognizes our immunity from the application of state taxes in our territory.”

· Casino compact: The Nation requests that the state withdraw its recently filed arbitration request to allow for a discussion of this dispute between the two sides.

· New York State Thruway: In 2007, the Nation cancelled the state’s 1954 easement to a three-mile stretch of the Thruway on Cattaraugus Territory land in Irving due to state non-compliance, and instituted toll charges. Those now total $75 million, which the state Thruway Authority has ignored. The Nation requests discussions begin about the balance owed and fulfillment of state commitments.

· Southern Tier Expressway: The state failed to meet obligations to the Nation set out in 1976. Discussions should begin to settle these failed promises.

· State gambling regulation charges: The state overbilled the Nation since the start of the compact, now overcharging the Nation $48 million. On Dec. 22, the two sides reached a conceptual agreement on a settlement. This should be finalized.

· West Valley. The state and the Nation should work together to move the U.S. Government to ensure a healthy environment for everyone living in the area potentially affected by radioactive contamination.

· Criminal and civil jurisdictions. The Nation would like to begin a dialogue with the state about criminal jurisdiction and civil lawsuits in state courts involving Indians. This frustrates Nation self-government and costs the state extra money.

· Ganondagan. The state operates a historic site near Victor, NY that is the historic birthplace of the Seneca Nation. The Nation, state and private parties contributed funds -- $2 million in the Nation’s case – to build an interpretive center on the site. The Nation would like state commitment for operating support and a role for the Nation in perpetuity.

In his first letter to the governor, Porter said:
“As you take office, I wanted to offer you the opportunity to establish a peaceful, long-term relationship between the Seneca Nation and the state. While our treaty relationship is with the United States government, not the state, I believe that the reality of our daily interaction is such that it is important for the Seneca Nation to have a direct and productive relationship with state officials as well as federal officials. I hope you agree.”

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Are these problems, that many tribes have? Could or do these situations affect the Mohegan Tribe? What do you think?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Casinos' slots revenue down in January
By Brian Hallenbeck


Published 02/15/2011 12:00

Sizable declines were expected, given the month’s severe weather, some of which affected weekend traffic.

“Despite the record-setting snowfall, we were still able to achieve consistently high visitation and (hotel) occupancy, as well as sell out a number of our shows throughout the month,” Scott Butera, Foxwoods’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are pleased with our results …”

Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, “won,” or kept, $48.5 million wagered on its machines, while Mohegan Sun kept $54.5 million wagered on its machines. Foxwoods, the Mashantucket Pequot-owned compex marking its 19th anniversary today, sent $12.7 million of its win to the state. Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, anted up $14.3 million.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: The other day, a Mohegan Tribal Member, told me that the financial problems, that the Mohegans find themselves in, was caused by past Mohegan Tribal Councils.

I couldn't believe that this well educated person, actually believed what he was saying. It couldn't be further from the facts. I reminded him the M.B. was had voted for most of the things that got us in this situation.

Who voted for the expansion, Phase Two (Sky Casino and Mohegan Sun Hotel), that went over budget? Was it M.B.?

Who voted to purchase Pocono Downs? Was it M.B. and B.B.?

Who voted for the permanent facility at Pocono Downs? Could it have been B.B., L.M., J.G., A.J., M.B., W.Q., and C.H.?

Who voted to spend money in Wisconsin and Washington State?

Who voted to build the Mohegan Government Community Center with the financing allegedly not in place? Was it M.B., B.B., L.M., J.G., A.J., T.H., W.Q. and C.H.?

Who voted to build a hotel, that is presently a hole in the ground? Was it L.M., B.B., M.B., J.G., A.J., T.H., W.Q. and C.H.?

Who was responsible for not taking the put on the Pocono Downs deal?

Who is responsible for taking the loan from the Federal Government, for the Mohegan Tribal Government Community Center? Do the majority of the Mohegan Tribe want this building? Is it going to cause cut backs in Mohegan Tribal member benefits? How is this going to be paid back? What do you think?

Who is causing the alleged cut backs, that the Mohegan Tribe is enduring?

Is it past Mohegan Tribal Councils, who caused the situation the tribe finds itself in? Is it because of the actions of the present Tribal Council? What do you think?



How many decisions, does the MTGA make, based on the Mohegan Sun management's recommendations? What do you think?

What cut backs are the Mohegan Tribal Council and the Council of Elders doing to themselves? Do you know of any? Should they take cut backs before asking cut backs of the Mohegan People? What do you think?

How many bad business decisions are the fault of Mohegan Sun management and the MTGA (Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority)? Was it past MTGA's? IS IT THE PRESENT MTGA? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Illegal Chinese Immigrant Pleads Guilty In Casino 'Bust-Out' Scheme
Foxwoods Resort Casino By EDMUND H. MAHONY,

The Hartford Courant

7:43 p.m. EST, February 14, 2011

HARTFORD — An illegal Chinese immigrant pleaded guilty on Monday to running a "bust-out" scheme that enabled gamblers to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars by cashing out phony bank transfers at the state's two casinos.

Federal prosecutors said Zhao Guang Ming, a 34-year-old resident of Queens known as Mr. Zhang, admitted in court in Hartford that he defrauded an unspecified number of banks of more than $200,000 in the scheme, in which criminals repeatedly obtained fraudulent cash advances at casinos in Ledyard and Montville.

A federal law enforcement affidavit said that the powerful, overhead video surveillance system at the Foxwoods Resort Casino collected a key piece of evidence against Zhao. The system has such high resolution that authorities were able to read the screen on Zhao's mobile telephone device as he used the Internet to enter the information necessary to initiate a fraudulent bank transfer.

"The surveillance video was zoomed in to a sufficient level to allow the viewer to read" the information on the screen of Zhao's mobile device, according to an affidavit prepared by an agent of the Department of Homeland Security, which conducted the investigation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Bad Weather Blamed for Drop in Slots
Feb. 11, 2011 6:48 a.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- January slot machine revenue from Pennsylvania casinos saw a slight drop -- 3.73% -- from the previous year, a decrease attributed to harsh winter weather that affected travel.

"In my recent visits to casinos, primarily those in the eastern portion of the commonwealth, operators explained that the crippling weather in January held down attendance at their facilities and affected revenue," said Kevin O'Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. "We expect slot revenue numbers to rebound if the weather improves."

This is the first time, he noted, that an overall monthly revenue figure from slot machine gaming has fallen from the same month in the previous year.

Not all casinos experienced a drop, however, including Presque Isle Downs in Erie and Rivers in Pittsburgh. Presque Isle Downs reported revenue of $11,476,856 for January -- up a slight 0.01% from January 2010 -- and revenue at Rivers Casino reached $20,173,211, up 12.54% from a year earlier.

The play of slot machines at the 10 casinos operating last month produced $177,317,920 in gross revenue compared to $184,214,974 a year ago. Tax collections by the commonwealth on that amount last month totaled $97,056,310, a per-day average of $3.13 million in tax revenue, O'Toole reported.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; If $184 Million was bet on slots and the State took $97 Million, how could any casino, including the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Possibly pay their bills, loans, interest, etc., from the remaining $87 Million? I don't see how that could ever be possible... Is Pocono Downs a looser? Will it always be like this? Can the MTGA do anything to change this? Was this a bad deal from the start? Should the MTGA get out of this bad deal? Do you know? What do you think?


Friday, February 11, 2011


.....Fall River continues casino talks with Mashpee Wampanoags.Is this article accurate?
By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Feb 10, 2011 @ 10:52 AM

FALL RIVER — As the future of casino gambling in the commonwealth remains uncertain, city officials are closely watching similar discussions in Rhode Island.

During a meeting of the Fall River Office of Economic Development’s Board of Directors Thursday morning, FROED Executive Vice President Kenneth Fiola said the city remains in regular contact with the Mashpee Wampanoags about the development of a casino in the city. Fiola said he talked with tribal officials as recently as Monday.

Fiola informed the board that the tribe is looking at other locations in the city for a potential resort casino. He did not provide any specific locations.

He said using land within the recently agreed upon biopark is not an option, noting the location is protected against casino development through the legislation that led to the city acquiring the land and the current zoning of the land.

While the search for a new location continues, Fiola said the prospect of a casino in Fall River or any other SouthCoast locale could depend on the future of expanded gambling in the Ocean State.
“The biggest impact is what Rhode Island is going to do,” Fiola said.

The Associated Press Tuesday reported that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has indicated a willingness to turn the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln, R.I., into a full-scale casino.

Twin River owner UTGR Inc. released an economic impact study that day, claiming such a switch would create as many as 650 jobs and up to $60 million in revenue for the state and town.

Fiola told the board he has also read reports that Chafee and the Rhode Island legislature have reached an informal agreement to expand gaming at both Twin River and Newport Grand, which is located about 20 miles south of Fall River.

Fiola cautioned that such an expansion could cause developers to look for a less congested market.

“If that happens it will have a severe impact on the siting of a casino in Massachusetts,” Fiola said. “What it doesn’t impact, in my mind, is a casino being sited in Boston.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Rhode Island governor wants Narragansett Tribe in gaming talks
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) says the Narragansett Tribe should be included in discussions about an expansion of gaming in the state.

Federal law bars the tribe from engaging in gaming on its reservation and the tribe cannot acquire land outside of its reservation under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The tribe has sought voter approval for a casino under state law but has been rejected more than once.

Meanwhile, non-Indian gaming has grown in the state. The Twin River Casino started off as a racetrack and was expanded with slot machines and now there is talk of adding table games.

The tribe gets a small share of revenues from slots at the facility -- this year's payment is expected to be $721,854. Chafee said the tribe should "have a seat at the table" if Twin River is going to add more games.

When Chafee served in the Senate, he opposed legislation that would allow the tribe to engage in gaming on its land.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Mohegan Tribe reaffirms commitment to casino in Massachusetts
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut is still committed to a casino in Massachusetts, a top gaming executive said.

The tribe wants to build the Mohegan Sun Palmer in the western part of the state. The facility would be located about 60 miles from the reservation in Connecticut.

“Our goal is to be there,” Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell G. Etes told The Waterbury Republican. “When Massachusetts is ready, we’ll be ready.”

Lawmakers are gearing up for another debate on gaming. Past proposals have called for facilities in different parts of the state.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Mr. Etess where is the money coming from to finance this project? Where is the money coming for the loans due in 2012? Is it true that it is about $850 Million? Where is the money coming from? Hello? What do you think?