Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The Recent Hubub About The Casino
In my humble opinion as a citizen, and not speaking on behalf of the BOS:
It seems certain people have decided that a multi-million dollar deal, the likes of which Middleboro has not seen in its entire history, is to be handled like a personal relationship or the sale of so many tomatoes at the roadside. They keep referring to those on the other side of the deal as friends, when their interests are clearly at odds with ours. As they say on Wall Street (where most deals of this size happen), if you want a friend, get a dog!
This deal is no different than most others. It is about money, self interest, and leverage. Just because some small sector of your population makes friends with the other side, eats with them, brings them care packages, and believes in their cause, does not mean that this is not still all about money and that you simply kick the interests of Middleborough to the curb. The other side looks out for its interests, as we should always be looking out for ours.
Some people have suggested that Middleborough does not even need the IGA, since, when the Tribe gets here, they will give us all the money we need. Right. They fight for decades to get what is rightfully theirs, that was wrongly taken by people like us, and when the Tribe gets theirs, they will willingly and freely give it right back as we need it. Really?--can we get that in writing. WAKE UP!!!
People say that re-opening discussions with the Tribe is like kicking them while they are down, and that people with a small town view of the world (as compared to a New York City view) don't do that to their neighbors and partners. I do not see the Tribe moving to Middleborough in droves (remember, they want housing in Mashpee, and the casino goes here.)
Apparently, the people that call them our partners also don't know the meaning of the word. A partnership imposes a fiduciary responsibility between partners. That means a relationship of honesty and loyalty between each partner. Where is that honesty--we need to talk. Where is that loyalty (after our initially not being invited to the compact negotiation table). If you want to call it a partnership, then look up the term before you use it. Partnerships also usually have a split of revenues between partners, thus, the partners each have a stake in the profitability of the venture. This is a basic contract where they buy our continued participation, but we really have no say in the business or its revenues--not a partnership.
I also disagree that reopening discussions is kicking anyone while they are down, its protecting the rights of the citizens who I, only one member of the BOS, took an oath to protect when I was elected into office. And by the by, claiming a small town mentality to a complex commercial transaction, is like admitting no competence to handling the deal. I would not be proud of that admission of ineptitude. While it is really quite quaint and fuzzy to say I look at it from a small town view, it is scary to think that the voters are at risk--since where small town views meet big business, small town loses. We need to grow up and play the game the way it must be played--like adults who comprehend complex commercial transactions.
The Marshall indictment is not an isolated issue that has nothing to do with the deal--that is simply a ridiculous statement meant to ignore reality, and sounds like it was probably hatched by Scott Fearson or Political Consultant A. It is a nice PR ploy and it is the grist for editorials such as the recent one in the Empty Prize (again, probably hatched by the same two PR people), but it ignores the terms of the agreement and the basic reasonable assumptions made by the voters at Town Meeting when the IGA was voted. By the way, reopening discussions does not void the deal. We have not breached, and unless something else is negotiated and signed, the deal is still in place. Talk really is cheap.
Maybe reference to a legal concept would help (since no one seems to want to crack a book on the subject). Take, for instance the legal claim of fraud in the inducement. Such a claim presents a special situation where parties to a contract appear to negotiate freely, but where, in fact, the ability of one party to negotiate fair terms and make an informed decision is undermined by the other party's fraudulent behavior in failing to reveal material facts. Hypothetically speaking, of course, would knowing that the Tribal Chair and some of its Council members allegedly violated the campaign finance laws in pursuit of recognition made a difference in a contract that has as part of its terms good faith and fair deal and a long relationship of mutual trust and support. Would it have made a difference to the voters at Town Meeting. Would it have effected negotiations if the negotiators knew the alleged character of the individuals and entities on the other side of the table.
I agree that the embezzlement is probably tangential to the issue, but the corruption surrounding the campaign finance laws and the alleged participation of other Council members in those actions raises the question of trust and good faith. Remember, that it took asserted action to get Mr. Hendricks to include Middleborough in his FINAL letter to the Governor--which he stated was an oversight. It takes vigilance to make promises be followed. Remember also that the invitation to meet with the Governor at compact negotiations was a "promise" by the negotiators -- not in writing, but by understanding (look back at the IGA). That promise was almost lost through the BOS inaction--and Ms. Duphily continues to complain that I took the action I did.
This is a far cry from kicking someone while they are down--this is protecting the deal and the rights of the Town. It may be unpleasnt, but most legal issues of this nature are, and failure to move forward in a proper manner is simply to deny that Middleborough and it voters have been victimized also and have rights that need protection. I feel bad for the Tribe, but I feel worse for my Tribe to whom I owe unqualified and absolute allegience.
On that note, let's consider further that some individuals in government also take it upon themselves to disclose to the people on the other side of the IGA matters relating to the Town's own strategies relating to how to proceed under the IGA. I can think of at least two occassions where that has occurred, and it has telegraphed to the other side that there is division on the BOS that can be exploited to their own advantage. To me, such actions by any elected official is a breach of trust and sheer wreckless disregard of the consequences that such action will have on the Town's interests.
If you think it through, my demand to have communications with the Tribe concerning recent events and the impact, if any, on the deal was simply that:"let's talk." But it seems that both inside and outside Middleborough that demand has translated into some fearful exchange that the BOS is reticent to accomplish, and at least one Tribal Council member appears to reject out of hand. Great relationship where both sides are afraid to communicate with one another. Great relationship where demanding a communication suddenly places you squarely in the "anti" camp. Great relationship where a delay is built in to having any conversations to mid-March in the hope that the LIT will be done so that any conversations can be rendered meaningless.
Finally, consider that while I continue to support the casino project, I do not do so at the expense of the interests of the citizens of Middleborough. Middleborough is the only interest I have--not the investors, not the Tribe, and not my keeping my seat on the BOS.
Posted by AMB at 11:31 AM