According to the FBI, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson once celebrated receiving a $1,000 bribe by hightailing it to Foxwoods. A pretty amusing detail — and one that jogged my memory.
Last year, not long after Glenn Marshall stepped down in disgrace as head of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council, there was a meeting involving Wilkerson, D-Roxbury, that has never been explained. But it clearly had something to do with the tribe’s fading hopes of building a mega-casino in Middleborough.
In a story broken by Peter Kenney at Cape Cod Today in September 2007, we learned that Amelia Bingham and her son, Steven Bingham, tribal members whom Marshall had ordered “shunned” for asking too many questions, met with Wilkerson in her office. Also present was Michael Morris, a top aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, and several advisers to the Binghams.
Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi later reported that Morris had not expected the Binghams to be present. That differed from Kenney’s account, which claimed that Morris merely hadn’t expected the Binghams to bring advisers with them.
Although the Binghams were fierce opponents of Marshall, they do not oppose the idea of building a tribal casino. Rather, they have criticized Marshall and his successor, Shawn Hendricks, for not cutting a lucrative enough deal for tribal members.
What is or was Wilkerson’s involvement in all this? Who knows? Kenney believed it might have something to do with the Binghams’ lawsuit against the town of Mashpee over property rights. That could lead to a casino’s being built in Mashpee rather than Middleborough. The suit is still very much alive, and K.C. Myers of the Cape Cod Times has an update today.
And check this out: Less than a week ago, the Globe’s Sean Murphy wrote an intriguing profile of an obscure Boston political figure named William McDermott, whose dealings with the tribe, and with Marshall, have been so extensive that Murphy called him “a founding father of the modern Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.” One of McDermott’s “old friends,” as it turns out, is Daniel Pokaski, chairman of the Boston Licensing Board, now at the center of the Wilkerson scandal.
Let’s not forget, too, that the FBI is still investigating Marshall.
It is time to find out what was discussed in Wilkerson’s office that day.