By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Middleborough update

The mess in Middleborough keeps spreading, and, as always, you just can’t make this stuff up. We begin this morning at Cape Cod Today, which flogs a story in the New York Times (CCT links to a Times sister paper, the International Herald Tribune), and observes that the land purchased by the Mashpee Wampanoags on which they plan to build a casino is near a contaminated toxic-waste site. The story is preceded by a CCT “Editor’s Note” that says:

Elsewhere at Cape Cod Today, the indefatigable Peter Kenney tells the exceedingly weird story of Desiré Hendricks Moreno, secretary of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council and sister of Shawn Hendricks, who took over as chairman of the council following the resignation of disgraced tribal leader Glenn Marshall. According to Kenney:

Reliable sources say that Desire Hendricks Moreno provided sanctuary for her cousin, Sharon Fitzpatrick, after Fitzpatrick’s husband was stabbed to death in Boston. Fitzpatrick has been charged with the murder and is free on $250,000 cash bail. According to one source in Mashpee, “Everyone in town knew she was at her cousin’s house over the weekend. And she was bragging about it afterwards.”

Kenney appears to be out there on the edge here, but his previous reporting on this story has not been successfully challenged. As Kenney also notes, the tribal council’s financial affairs are already being investigated by various government agencies, although it appears that Marshall, rather than Hendricks and Moreno, is the target of those investigations.

Meanwhile, the man who has most publicly associated himself with the mess that Middleborough stumbled into, Selectman Adam Bond, is trying to get himself hired as the $130,000-a-year town manager, even though he doesn’t meet even the minimal requirements that have been posted for the position.

The Boston Globe’s Christine Wallgren reports that Bond, who lacks a master’s degree in public administration, one of the prerequisites, thinks his law degree ought to suffice. How badly does Bond want the job? He tells Wallgren: “Why don’t they just offer me less money for the job, and tell me I have to go back to school to get a master’s in public administration?” I guess practicing law isn’t as lucrative as it used to be. Maybe that explains why he’s never bothered to do anything with his Web site.

By the way, one of Bond’s main backers, Tony Lawrence, is associated with, whose editor and publisher, Hal Brown, has compared casino opponents to the Ku Klux Klan.

In the Brockton Enterprise, Alice Elwell writes that Middleborough officials were silenced at a recent meeting of representatives from nearby communities. The reason given was the lack of consideration Middleborough reportedly showed those communities in approving a casino deal with the tribe last summer.

And, finally, the Cape Cod Times fronts a long report by Stephanie Vosk and George Brennan on Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman, the South African investors behind the Mashpee Wampanoags.

Vosk and Brennan write: “Most members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe can only wonder how much of their sovereignty has been signed away to help Kerzner and Wolman continue their dominance of New England’s gambling industry.”

*Update: I have revised this item to reflect changes in Cape Cod Today’s presentation of the New York Times story.

Disclosure #1: Cape Cod Today has begun serializing my book, “Little People,” today. I am not getting paid.

Disclosure #2: Just click here.

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Putting Hopkins in her place


  1. ben

    If you’re against casino gambling, I’d suggest sticking to the arguments against it. If you’re against casino gambling in Middleboro, stick to the arguments against it. This tangential stuff is just noise and irrelevant to the real debate. What if the group out in Palmer is completely professional and plays by the book, you’ve then put yourself in a position to support them because your argument has been less about the effects of casino gambling and its related impacts and more about the Mashpee/Wolman group and the physical site.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Thanks for the advice, Ben. As I have said before, I am against casino gambling anywhere, but, as a fallback, I’m against casino gambling in Middleborough. I think the meltdown in Middleborough speaks to the issue on both grounds, since it’s indicative of the kind of people you have to crawl into bed with.

  3. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    Why don’t they stick to mashing peas, and leave the casino alone?

  4. MeTheSheeple

    “The grim discovery”? This is such bad writing it makes my head hurt.First, Superfund sites aren’t exactly hidden. There are lists and maps easily available, including online.Second, quit editorializing. People know that uncleaned Superfund sites aren’t exactly the place to hold the family vacation. So what’s so grim about it? We know already. Geesh.Third, the writer’s using the passive voice, which covers up forFour, the writer is a moron. “The grim discovery” doesn’t make it clear who did the discovering. What we’re seeing, then, is that the writer just found out about this. So the writer is taking his ignorance, remedying it with widely available public information, and then proclaiming it as a scoop. If he missed the knowledge of local Superfund sites and just now — this far into the discussion of a casino — discovered it, chances are good that reporter is still a pretty ignorant fool.

  5. MeTheSheeple

    Gets worse. Guy can’t get the name of the program right (Superfund, no space) … but it doesn’t look like they -are- Superfund sites in the sense of the word that people on the street would consider.There’s a Rockland Industries site off Plymouth Street being considered for Superfund — but it’s not yet on the list, it’s not yet Superfund.And there’s a Middleborough Plating site on Cambridge Street.So let’s take a closer look at these sites.The Rockland Industries contamination looks like it was “discovered” more than 20 years ago with the state planning a cleanup for more than 10 years.The Middleborough Plating site was cleaned up seven years ago — in just a few months.Wow. What a scoop.

  6. Anonymous

    As far as the ALS cluster goes, I have the same question I always ask the Silent Spring people when they try to convince me that the Base causes breast cancer -1. In what industry did these sufferers spend their working lives, and for how long?2. What is their longevity in that neighborhood? Have they recently moved there from the chemical plants in Maryland?I’d wait for the DPH to finish the cluster investigation, as they generally ask these questions before alerting the media.

  7. Peter Porcupine

    Dan – those of us who know Walter (of Cape Cod Today) never had a DOUBT you weren’t being paid! :~)

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