In light of all that has been coming to light and after the January 12 BOS meeting I have to question what currently is motivating and driving the BOS regarding the whole Glenn Marshall/investor mess relating to the Resort project.
There was a December 22 opinion letter from Mr. Whittlesey that seemed to be quite clear that a discussion should be had specifically relating to the IGA and its terms. Attorney Whittlesey, on December 22, 2008--to whom we paid more than $200,000 for his expert legal advice--stated, in an opinion letter (which Ms. Duphily demanded from me before she would even consider (then ignore) my position on this issue):
"Dear Mr. Bond:
This letter responds to your inquiry concerning the referenced agreement and the Town's situation in light of recent publicity about former tribal Chairman Glenn Marshall. Specifically, you have requested my opinion as to the Town's situation and whether there should be meetings--formal or informal--with the Tribe about the IGA.
It is my opinion that the Town's Board of Selectmen should appoint a delegation to meet and confer with the Tribe about this situation.
The allegations to which former Chairman Marshall is pleading guilty are serious and raise questions about the fundamental representations made by the tribal representatives attendant to the process through which the referenced IGA was developed. For this reason, it is my STRONG recommendation that the Town informally request meetings to discuss the specific agreements made and the foundations upon which they were determined. If the Tribe prefers to not meet under these conditions, then it would be appropriate for the Town to formally invoke the Dispute Resolution provisions of the IGA. However, I do not believe that this should be necessary."
To date, the BOS has squandered this advice and, as of January 12, actually struck any reference to the IGA from the letter requesting a meeting. This was done on a motion by Steve Spataro (up for re-election this term and supported by Casino Friends in both the last election and to avoid recall) and seconded by Ms. Duphily (also supported by Casino Friends for election)--they simply believed that the language referring to the IGA was too aggressive and didn't like the tone.
Mr. Frawley stood and politely (I note politely because some have falsely claimed he was rude)questioned:"Are we just going to ignore what has happened on the Tribal side, or are we going to deal with it?" He got no answer from the BOS, and any reference to the IGA was stricken from the letter by a 3-1 vote. Essentially, we are burying the Town's interests by being so "polite" and accommodating for fear that the investors will take the deal away. This is the time to be business aggressive in the protection of the Town's interests.
I also overheard a discussion after the meeting where Ms. Duphily was arguing with Mr. Renfrew that you cannot blame a whole Tribe for the acts of one man, any more than you can blame a whole BOS for the acts of one Selectman. Once again, this is not about the emotional blame game.
We should all consider that the Bingham's attorneys are going after an agreement with the Town of Mashpee based on the same alleged acts of fraud. They want to annul an agreement based on the alleged improprieties of Shawn Hendricks who brokered the deal with Mashpee. Why is their position any different than ours (and I believe ours may be better).
Glenn Mashall, and apparently others with him, acted in a manner that may have breached the IGA. This does not put "blame" on the whole Tribe, it simply creates a basis for a claim that is founded on the fact that he was acting in his representative capacity (as CEO of the Tribe), and that in that capacity, he may have committed an actionable wrong against the Town on the Tribe's behalf. So the BOS should be focused on fixing the problem--quickly.
All of this leaves me questioning motivations and preparation. It seems clear to me that discussion is cheap and that at the center of the storm is any impact on the IGA. The so called elephant in the bedroom. On January 12, it seems that Ms. Duphily and Mr. Spataro wanted to simply dismiss the elephant in the bedroom and try to proceed like nothing is wrong. I beg to differ, and I do so a just one man, and a citizen of Middleboro, and in a manner similar to Amelia Bingham and her lawyers.
Apropos of this issue, I was asked about the two occasions I previously referenced where an elected official spoke to the Tribe or its agents about information that I believe was damaging to the interests of the Town by being disclosed. It seems like a fair request, and it is a request that I can answer from personal knowledge.
When I took action after the Tribe, through its then Chairman, Shawn Hendricks, excluded us from their request to the Governor to have compact negotiations, I acted as quickly as I could to preserve our right to be at the compact negotiations--as promised by the negotiators. Acting alone, since nobody else had yet identified the gravity of the situation, I wrote a blog that accomplished the purpose of having the Tribe retract the letter and include us in the request for compact negotiations.
Mimi Duphily, who, as she put it, wanted to "rip my face off" because she had to deal with calls from reporters and people coming into her shop (I deal with this regularly), was visited by Helen Belmont, President of Middleboro Friends/Member of Casino Friends. According to what both Mimi and Helen told me (and argued about with me at a later meeting), Mimi and Helen spoke, and then Helen called Steve Graham on her cell phone and put Mimi on the phone to talk with Steve Graham. Steve Graham is one of the Tribe's negotiators for the IGA and also serves as their political consultant/handler.
Mimi let Steve Graham know that I acted alone and that the rest of the BOS knew nothing about it, and by doing so disclosed that the BOS was divided and easily assailable. I still am dumbfounded that, she called the other side...not her own Board Member to find out what was going on. She felt more comfortable contacting the Tribe and its political handler, rather than calling a member of her own Town Board. She told me that she didn't call me because she was so mad at me, and because she knew I was going out of Town. Last I looked, the cell phones work all over the country, and I spoke to Town hall at least three times that day, and the Tribe was able to get me to discuss the matter while I was boarding a plane to Tennessee. Mimi then took three days to return my call to her (because she was so mad), which I made after I found out she wanted to rip my face off.
The second incident was when Aaron Tobey, a tribal council member, contacted me for a man to man discussion about the Marshall indictment issues. Aaron and I spoke on condition that we both agreed neither spoke for his group and that nothing we said would in any way bind either side. I had our TM immediately send an e-mail to all the Selectmen to let them know that I would be meeting with him--because I did not want Mimi to be so mad that she would want to rip my face off, and I had promised my board that I would keep them in the loop in the future. The agenda and results of the meeting immediately were discussed with the TM. Apparently, Mimi,contacted someone at the Tribe to find out who this Aaron Tobey was that was meeting with Adam Bond, which set off a fire storm at the Tribal end that could have broken down any possibility of fruitful discussion. How did she know which council members are involved in improprieties, and why didn't she just call me (or the TM) to ask who he was--I was in Town, told her about it through e-mail, and she should not have been mad at me. Apparently, she just feels more comfortable with the Tribe and their interests than any discussions with me. But Aaron was a gentleman about it all--upset, but a gentleman.
Again, I am concerned that the Town's interests and/or strategies are being overlooked (and leaked)for some esoteric and emotional reason relating to how certain individuals feel about the tribal members on a personal level. If you want to love the Tribe, feel free, but as an elected official it is the deal that needs to be harnessed and dealt with professionally for the interest of the Town.
However, to the Town's detriment, this Board has telegraphed in no uncertain terms and loudly that it will never walk away from this deal under any circumstances and regardless of the consequences, because it NEEDS this casino. Apparently, the BOS will take everything that is thrown at it and continue to defend the Tribe at every turn. This is no way to handle a contract or deal of this magnitude. There is absolutely no reason that the Tribe or the investors will ever enter productive discussions with this backdrop of unqualified acceptance by the Town arising out of a sense of utter desperation or NEED.
From my perspective, I am for the deal and resolving these issues promptly--which includes all the promises that were made and the expectations formed along with its creation and vote. If I believe my Town's interests are damaged by the actions of the other side, I would take any and all steps to get those issues resolved, all the way to the remedy of parting ways (which is always and is still a viable option). My Town's interests (as I see them) are paramount, and a willingness to walk away is as important to the Town as a willingness to stay and work it out. They don't own us...yet...or do they?
But this is just my opinion as an individual citizen and just one of five Selectmen.