Those who support the proposed Middleborough casino like to say that Glenn Marshall’s downfall doesn’t matter because everything is in writing. Scott Ferson, a spokesman for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, put it this way recently in The Standard-Times of New Bedford:
The agreement is between the tribe and the town, not one person on either side, and there is a great deal of integrity in the agreement. The commitments that are made by the tribe in the voice of Glenn Marshall stand.
Now comes Alice Elwell, who writes in The Enterprise of Brockton that, in fact, enthusiasm for the casino was very much based on personal assurances made by Marshall — or, as the headline puts it, his “secret promises.” Among them:
- Marshall promised local business leaders that he would “help” if the casino harmed restaurants in town. Selectman Wayne Perkins says this would have taken the form of “comp points” — scrip given to casino visitors that could be used at Middleborough businesses, which in turn could trade them in for cash.
- Marshall promised to assist the town with police and firefighting expenses.
- He told several people to “come see me” over their concerns about how the casino would affect their quality of life.
- He promised the chairman of the Middleborough Housing Authority that he would “help” with programs for senior citizens.
Elwell writes: “It is unknown if the residents would have supported a casino in their town had they known of Marshall’s criminal background. But in the months leading up to the historic town meeting vote, Marshall made several promises that were not included in the written contract with the town.”
And she quotes tribal council member Cheryl Frye as saying that anyone who’s concerned about whether the tribe will honor promises made by Marshall should come on in and talk it over.
Is there a legal argument to be made that town meeting approved the deal on false pretenses? I don’t know. That would probably be a stretch. But there’s really no end to this, is there?