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Editorial: Mashpee Wampanoag casino promises

"Whether the Mashpee Wampanoags build a casino in New Bedford, Middleboro, or elsewhere, municipal officials who serve as the residents' negotiators will face the challenge of ensuring that the good intentions professed by Tribal Council Chairman Glenn Marshall are translated into concrete actions and incorporated into any agreement with the tribe.

Unfortunately, neither the Tribal Council members nor their chairman will be calling all the shots on the tribe's behalf. The Mashpee tribe is beholden to its main investor, Detroit casino developer Herb Strather, who has been spending millions on behalf of the tribe's petition for federal recognition since around 1999.

Without investors, the tribe probably wouldn't have the moral victory of federal recognition it has been seeking since 1974. It certainly wouldn't have the capital to buy large tracts of land for development.

So any of Mr. Marshall's promises, such as the ones he made this week that the tribe is "anti-sprawl" and that development will be as ecologically sound as possible, must be taken with the knowledge that when the time comes to sign an agreement, the investors' representatives will drive a hard bargain in favor of profits."

Get the Story:
OUR VIEW: Nail down casino promises (South Coast Media Group 5/24)