Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Corruption of Casinos is Pervasive

This is a devastating article coming out of the Globe today on the casino industry in Massachusetts.

The ultimatum reveals the administration’s dissatisfaction with Fall River officials, who over the past several years persuaded the state to invest more than $50 million in road improvements and other upgrades for a planned “BioPark’’ — only to see those city officials on Monday instead endorse construction of a casino on the site.

Patrick’s top economic aide, Gregory Bialecki, said his office was not briefed on the casino proposal before the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe unveiled it.

So, here's what we have here: Corrupt politicians in Fall River, who are deeply embedded with all sorts of parties who wants casinos in that area, including this particular tribe in question, took $50 million in state funding dedicated toward a "Bio Park" and instead, pulled the carpet right from under that state investment, and will try to use that Bio Park's land for a tribal casino, instead.

When the tribe was asked if it would pay the state back, as the administration is demanding, here's what they said:
When asked if the tribe would reimburse the state the $35 million for the highway ramp, a Wampanoag spokesman would say only that the ramp would benefit other property owners in Fall River, not just the casino.
So, that's a no.

This is bull shit. Why are we, as a state, allowing ourselves to get involved with these corrupt and greedy asshats? Not just tribal interests and their corporate backers, but also the race tracks and any other parties trying to bid for a Massachusetts casino. They're all the same. They're all a threat to this state.

And just so people don't think this isn't a matter of Fall River being worried about making sure this Bio Park is used, UMASS Dartmouth was already planning to invest tens of millions of dollars in the park. How is that looking, now, you ask? Well, here's Chancellor McCormack.

Meanwhile, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth chancellor Jean MacCormack released a letter in which the school indicated it would pull a proposed biotechnology research facility that was also slated for the BioPark site. The state had already committed to spending $15 million for the facility, as well as another $2 million in road upgrades to support it.

“The City’s decision to abandon development of a BioPark in favor of a resort casino profoundly affects the university’s decision-making about a suitable location for our facility,’’ the UMass letter said. “Any delay in starting the project triggers a risk that state funding might be rescinded, so timing is important.’’

UMASS Dartmouth has an absolutely wonderful science program -- my best friend went through it and for the past 3 years has been doing cutting-edge research at a Harvard Bio-Lab and is now going for her MD. The University just built a high-tech botchelism lab, funded through bio-terror federal funds. There's all sorts of good stuff going on there -- and this Bio Park would have been a great opportunity not for the University, but the entire region as well.

This is exactly the kind of investments the city of Fall River needs to get back on its feet and prosper. Instead, it's doing everything it can to throw the opportunity away and build something that will suck whatever life's left in the city and region. It's quite fitting that the city and tribe has just done this in about the most underhanded way possible, in complete secrecy, after the state has invested tens of millions, with plans for tens of millions more. The people of Fall River better get rid of their creep mayor, or the chances of them ever getting the kind of investment that was going toward this Bio Park will be gone. This sort of duplicity puts everything at risk for that region.

Finally, for the State of Massachusetts, we must remember that if there's even 1 single, legalized slot machine in Massachusetts, the tribal casinos will have a back door into this state sooner rather than later. Once we build a casino or racino, the game's over. Those six planned ventures by Speaker DeLeo could easily become twelve, with two of them from our current recognized tribes, and another four from unrecognized tribes in this state which are currently trying to gain federal recognition.

PS: I feel for the region and UMASS Dartmouth for what looks to be a massive loss of opportunity for all involved, but with the University's support of Clyde Barrow, who's in turn propped up casino interests in the South Coast like none other, the University was kind of asking for it. If you sleep with the dogs, you get up with their fleas, as the saying goes.

Update: At least there's four rational city councilors in Fall River, but they need to oust this idiot Flanagan.

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