After causing plenty of trouble for their Genting Malaysia partner, two leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe are now in hot water themselves. The Cape Cod Times reports Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell and Vice Chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird are now at risk of losing their positions.
Both are getting the blame for the more than $500 million owed to Genting, which supported the tribe in a bid to run a $1 billion casino in Taunton, Massachusetts, 40 miles south of Boston. That plan fell through when in September, the U.S. Department of the Interior ruled they could not hold the land in a trust, overruling the tribes claims that they had ancestors there for four centuries.
Tribal Council member Aaron Tobey Jr. said the tribe has had enough of this leadership. “Tribal members are hurt and embarrassed by what the Tribal Council has or hasn’t done and they know it’s time for a change,” he declared.
The move to unseat the two is partly to do with the casino, partly to do with a lack of general results, and just wanting them to go away. The motion suggests Cromwell has wasted everyone’s time since 2009, receiving $1 million in pay with “very little to show for it; no casino, no jobs.”
Baird, on the other hand, has already resigned, but for some reason she won’t go home. She filed that resignation on January 25, and Cromwell is accused of conspiring to keep her in office so the tribe could not replace her.
With the tribe in such bad shape after the failed deal though, there are accusations going every which way. Baird accuses Tobey of defaming her in the press. He’s also faced pressure for expulsion after he questioned Cromwell a little too much, but there’s no current plan to continue with that process.
All of this drama will have Genting happy that they got out of the deal while only crediting the dysfunctional tribe with $500 million. The company barely eked out a 1.5% decrease in revenues for 2018, despite the loan, due to a sweetheart tax deal from the Malaysian government.