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

Corruption charges cloud Middleborough casino

Glenn Marshall, the former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council, faces federal corruption charges in connection with his efforts to win governmental recognition for the tribe. Marshall was the driving force behind plans to build a $1 billion casino in Middleborough.

According Jay Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald, the charges include making illegal campaign contributions to members of Congress, guided by imprisoned former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose name has come up before in connection with the tribe.

Marshall stepped down in August 2007 after it was learned that he was a convicted rapist who’d lied about his military service. No word on whether his new legal woes are tied to Shawn Hendricks, his handpicked successor.

All this at a moment when the casino industry is falling apart — making it unlikely, Matt Viser reports in the Boston Globe, that Gov. Deval Patrick will revive his three-casino proposal any time soon.

Given the charges against Marshall, it looks like everything is up in the air — not just the proposed Middleborough casino, but whether the Mashpee are even a legal tribe with the right to build such a monstrosity.

It truly is a great day for Middleborough.

Update: Gladys Kravitz says all that needs to be said.

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  1. Gladys Kravitz

    Top of the world, Ma…

  2. NewsHound

    Yes, indeed, this is a great day for all of us in Massachusetts, and Middleboro, too, even though they don’t appreciate it and some residents will have to get over the thought of the opportunity to exploit the region and many of its weaker people.My ancestral grandfather 11 generations back was killed by a Wampanaog’s arrow while he was standing in the doorway of his house eating an ear of corn in Cambridge in 1646. Several of my ancestors bought their land fair and square from the Indians and both sides were happy at the time with the transaction.No one in this country deserves special privileges because of anything that happened or might have happened hundreds of years ago, and worse, the right to exploit other people, predominately, weaker people. This is a country of equal opportunity.Further, gambling should be illegal all the time everywhere by everybody.At best, and it is hardly ever at best, it is economically neutral.

  3. Peter Porcupine

    DK – Babies and Bathwater!This is a post I wrote almost three years ago, before Marshall became ascendent. Mashpee Wamponoag have struggled for decades for recognition – they should not be stripped of tribal status.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Well, they have to be stripped of tribal recognition, don’t they? It is nothing but the fruit of a poisoned process. Besides, they sure as hell can’t build a tribal casino if they’re not a tribe. Sounds good to me.

  5. Ani

    Why are all these stories told in a bad-guys-vs-good-guys (in which the story-teller is aligned with the good guys) paradigm? Maybe we adults in this culture need to examine our apparent need to structure reality in this way. I am reminded of fairy tales.

  6. NewsHound

    What happened 400 years ago is superfluous. We are now a nation of equality. No one today is affected by any inequality that might, maybe might, have occurred hundreds of years ago. Even if there was some injustice 10 or 12 generations back, get over it and move on.

  7. Gladys Kravitz

    Having a concrete overpass built above your roof in order to accommodate casino traffic is a reality for some very real people in Middleboro. So is the taking of their land by eminent domain – for a tribe which paid for it’s recognition. I can only wish it were a fairy tale.

  8. NewsHound

    If the tribe wants to stay in an enclosed wooded area and live in teepees for generation after generation and open a casino within their own tribal land for members only that is just fine. Just stay there though and don’t use our hospitals, universities, ask for state jobs, drive cars and trucks made outside of tribal lands, etc., and don’t exploit the people who are non-tribe members with what is otherwise illegal gambling. Enough is enough! Amen!

  9. NewsHound

    I’d like to see everyone treated equally, and well, regardless of heritage.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    I am amazed at Republicans who rail against affirmative action get all misty-eyed when it comes to Native American tribes.Take away federal recognition for the Mashpee Wampanoags, and what happens to its members? Uh, nothing. They are free to live and work just like anyone else.Tribal leaders have been trying to destroy a community. What’s wrong with destroying their legal means to do so? Sorry, but this is serious business.

  11. Ani

    Working for or against a particular project does not require dividing the people involved into us and them, good guys and bad guys. Which is not to say that some of your fellow participants, including those who want what you don’t want (or vice versa), haven’t done that, too, only that if no one rises above seeing the world that way, it will go on that way. It is possible to view all people compassionately, even though we are sometimes sorely challenged to do so, especially in the moment. But I believe that is a limitation, understandable though it may be, of the person having the trouble maintaining a compassionate perspective.

  12. NewsHound

    Yes, Dan, perfectly said: “They are free to live and work just like anyone else.”Beyond that, gambling is a distraction to the economy. If there were no associated costs, it would be economically neutral, but because of costs and profits it is worse.

  13. Nial Liszt

    **I am amazed at Republicans who rail against affirmative action get all misty-eyed when it comes to Native American tribes.**I am amazed at the number of Democrats who are against affirmative action who patronize their casinos.Within two years of seeing Sal go out with his coat over his hands, there will be a casino in Mass.

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