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Jan 30, 2013 10:50 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Casino Development Company Cuts Off Payments To Shinnecock Tribe

Jan 30, 2013 1:32 PM

The Detroit development company that has bankrolled the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s ambitious drive toward a gaming facility has suspended its monthly stipend for tribal operations since November, as a power struggle swirls within the tribe following the ouster of two of the three Tribal Trustees and two members of the tribe’s Gaming Authority.

The company, Gateway Casino Resorts, suspended the payments until the tribe can resolve its internal conflict, according to letters to the tribe from Gateway attorneys. Gateway had been giving the tribe some $3 million a year—$250,000 each month—to fund its operations and pay the salaries of the two dozen tribe members employed at the tribal offices.

In December, members of the splintered Gaming Authority appealed to Gateway to restore their traditional business relationship, including the hefty monthly payments, which have fueled the tribe’s growing operations and the jobs of the Gaming Authority members for more than a decade. An attorney for Gateway responded on January 16, declining to return to normal business until the tribe resolves its internal issues.

“First and foremost, thank you for acknowledging the continuing ‘tribal governance issues that have caused Gateway concern’ with the current business relationship,” Gateway attorney R. Lance Boldry wrote in the letter to the Gaming Authority, a copy of which was provided to The Press by a tribe member. “These communications demonstrate the continuing existence of the internal Shinnecock issues, which remain for the Shinnecock people to resolve. Gateway’s position has not changed since our last communication on December 18, 2012. It will continue to monitor this situation and weigh all of its options.”

Those issues seemed to stride further from resolution this week, as two divergent groups claimed to be the legitimate leaders of the tribe and traded conflicting declarations of authority. Also, one of the two backed out of a planned mediation arranged by the U.S. Department of the Interior in an attempt to help the tribe settle its internal dispute. The mediation meeting was initially scheduled for January 21, but Tribal Counsel Marguerite Smith canceled the meeting on behalf of Tribal Trustees Chairman Randy King.

On Tuesday night, the two Tribal Trustees removed from their posts in a much disputed tribal referendum in October, Lance Gumbs and Gordell Wright, attempted to convene a tribal meeting, claiming that they are still the legitimate quorum of the Tribal Trustees, having been elected in the most recent tribal elections.

But they were barred from using the tribal Community Center building, following a statement circulated by the Tribal Trustees office that said no official tribal meeting had been called on Tuesday. Tribal spokesperson Beverly Jensen on Tuesday appeared to reject their claim to authority, saying the meeting hall is available for use only by tribe members, other than leadership, by an arranged lease.

Mr. Gumbs and Mr. Wright instead convened a meeting attended by about 20 tribe members in a nearby family services building, at which they addressed some of the evidence they have presented about the impropriety of their ostensible ouster from office.

Last week, Mr. Gumbs and Mr. Wright sent a package of documents to all tribe members, reasserting their claims that the two public votes which removed them from office were illegal under tribal law, and orchestrated by a faction of the tribe bent on kowtowing to the demands of Gateway. They have said the votes—the second of which was a landslide in favor of removing the men from office—violated specific statutes of tribal law and were not certified by the tribe’s Election Committee. They also said that tribe members acknowledged at a public meeting that ineligible people had cast ballots, and that ballot boxes were opened and at least one vote removed without supervision.

“Randy [King] threw tribal law and tribal history away to protect himself,” Mr. Gumbs said. “He said he was going to defer to the ‘will of the people,’ but that’s what is causing all these problems. You cannot have 200 chiefs and three Indians and expect the nation to function.”

The men have, likewise, dismissed the legitimacy of the three “interim” Tribal Trustees appointed unilaterally by Mr. King in December. On December 18, a group of several dozen tribe members tried to turn the tables on Mr. King by calling their own vote at a tribal meeting and voting overwhelmingly to depose the interim Trustees.

Mr. Gumbs has called the campaign to remove him and Mr. Wright and Gaming Authority members Phil Brown and Barre Hamp a political coup intended to silence questions the four men had begun raising about the contracts past Tribal Trustees had inked with Gateway. He has said that Mr. King and Fred Bess, a former Tribal Trustee who is among the three men Mr. King appointed as interim Trustees, have concealed facts about the Gateway contracts on several occasions.

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I'm not really sure how a casino in Nassau County with money from a hedge fund helps the Shinnecocks. It is becoming a money grap where a few Shinnecocks will do well and the rest of the nation will continue to fall into poverty. The Shinnecocks are for the most part good, honest people it's a shame big money is trying to take advantage of them.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 30, 13 5:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
The 5 "Black Ops" individuals were overwhelmingly removed twice by 85% and then by 95% of the voting members of the Nation!
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Jan 30, 13 11:15 PM
The voting membership is the ultimate governing authority of the Nation! The BIA and the media must respect the Nation's own resolution of a dispute which was done in a valid tribal forum. It is ironic that Lance Gumbs who was a strong proponent of Shinnecock sovereignty is now expecting "Big Bro" to interfere with the internal governance of the Nation. It is our prayer that he will self regulate and come back to his senses. THE HAND OF THE LORD BE UPON HIM.
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Jan 30, 13 11:53 PM
The Shinnecock people would not be in the state of affairs they are in now if they had more trust and faith in each other as they do for their developer. No need for the "white Man' to bring them down when they can do it on their own.
I'm sure the ancestors are real proud! Sad Sad Sad..........
By NativeWoman (18), southampton on Jan 31, 13 2:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
The White Man????? The one that gives the native Americans free school, free college, welfare and retirement when they need it? How about the use of our roads? How about I work 70 hrs a week to pay my bills and some of my taxes go to the reservation? I'm tired of hearing about how native Americans were mistreated 200 years ago long before you and I were even a thought. The so called white people I know like to help native Americans and are very respectful to your culture. Not to mention us white ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 31, 13 10:41 PM
Genocide, slavery, and first real documented use of biological warfare is FAR more than "mistreatment". Such a statement is shining proof you have no real knowledge of your country's history. These were people who welcomed strangers, presented gifts, and "Indian" culture respected their women. The only thing superior about the "white man's culture" was firearms and swords. I learned that in 8th grade.

They were here before any settler, or local born on Long Island soil. They are a ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 1, 13 7:31 AM
Please step off your moral politically high horse. As usual you have no idea what anyone is talking about due to your pea sized brain. The bottom line of what I said was the Southampton community has always been supportive of the Shinnecocks. I just don't like the term White man as a derogatory phrase. No one is questioning the bad treatment some Native Americans received. I find offense in being White and being lumped into a group that did something decades ago or even centuries ago. If I lumped ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 1, 13 9:53 AM
Funny, that's not how the post reads. As I stated, White man is in quotations for a reason. Historical connotation.

How do not misinterpreted that, I'm sure your post would have looked much different.

Thanks for the clarity...
Feb 2, 13 10:21 AM appended by Mr. Z
"Had you not". Dang speech to text. chief, you may want to note NativeWoman's reply. That is, if you comprehend the difference between the literal, and the figurative. In this case, a descript reference to an attitude of, or obsession toward hegemony.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 1, 13 10:21 AM
I guess my post went well over your head! Of all the things I said which was a valid point, all you could see was the term "white Man" it was not used as a degoratory statement. Yes you do need to look into your history cause your statement of "FREE" anything is so off based. I could go on and on with you about how wrong and sterotypical your response to my post is but aguring with ignorance is a waste of intelligence. ;-)
By NativeWoman (18), southampton on Feb 1, 13 10:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
What she is saying is, they brought in an outsider and that outsider is making the problems of division that already existed within the nation worse. Yes you've lived there all of your life, but you have no idea what its like on the Rez. The tribe appreciates the public services provided. NativeWoman's statement is not a dig against White people or the Southamtpon Village Community. It's more a dig at the tribe and their dysfunction.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Feb 1, 13 11:40 AM
2 members liked this comment
If the truth is "moral high ground", let it reign.

If you are in agreement, let it roll.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 1, 13 10:39 PM
I am curious ? This was recently posted by a different person.

Good evening Lance, You and I have casually meet several times I have meet Randy and some of the Bess family as well. I have been watching this all unfold. I believe you are all trying your best to manage a difficult situation.

I must ask, why would you want to develop a Casino so far from home. It seems to me I read somewhere in the federal regulations that they require you stay within 25 miles of the reservation. ...more
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Jan 31, 13 3:27 PM
Shinnecock has handled the difficult situation! Let me reiterate for you; the "puppet sachems" set up by outside entities who thought they could capitalize on our sovereignty and tax exempt status have been REMOVED! PERIOD!!! Shinnecock collectively determines the use of our land! Our land means more to us than you could ever conceive! We will not pimp her to the highest bidder! So Fall back!
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Feb 1, 13 3:15 AM
2 members liked this comment
What is really sad is how some tribal members feel that the majority of us has been manipulated by the developer when in actuality the 5 "Black Op Puppet sachems" who got paid up front are the ones being manipulated! They got in bed with wrong people and thought they would high jack the Nation to pay off their debt! Our ancestors are Real Proud that we continue to be good stewards of all the Creator has blessed us with and guess what? He will never allow us to be deceived! We are.who we WERE! Our ...more
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Feb 1, 13 3:39 AM
2 members liked this comment
This whole sad situation was started by the developer from the moment he paid someone to hack into a personal email account which was used as evidence against the 5 men, however there was and still no evidence of wrong doing or that any of the 5 actually received any money up front BECAUSE there was NO REAL deal made! It was an IDEA! Had the tribal members who have such hatred and vengettas against one of the 5 accused (Lance) not started a lynch mob on them and promoted lies, false accusations, ...more
By NativeWoman (18), southampton on Feb 1, 13 1:57 PM
What is a "sachem" ?
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Feb 1, 13 7:15 AM
I believe it means tribe leader Sig
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 1, 13 2:33 PM
“The earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.”

~ Chief Seattle
Feb 4, 13 5:57 PM appended by Mr. Z
“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 4, 13 5:57 PM
I would just like to say I wish this would get resolved being a friend of a lot of people on the RES kind of made me feel uncomfortable when I came to visit. People on the RES are so loving and kind and for there to be such a divide is not who the Shinnecocks are, Shinnecocks are a Nation of one please lets get back to being the Shinnecock Nation we know you are, 1 great Nation, Love all of you.
By MACDADDY (49), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 1, 13 3:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Feb 2, 13 8:05 AM
95% of the Nation were not misled! The five were not authorized by the Nation to spend millions to pursue an IDEA! If no deal exist why respond to the Nation for your actions through the media rather face us? Why do they consistently keep trying to get into the Nation's bank accounts?Shinnecock entered in a contractual agreement with the developer we honor our commitment. it is not OK to take their money and crack another back door that the Nation has to repay,
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Feb 2, 13 8:05 AM
Just put it in Hampton bays already and stop the Drama. HB has been going down hill already you can see the dregs walking the streets any day you drive by, so don't tell me a Foxwoods type casino would bring down the character of the neighborhood if anything done right it will bring it up. Then you will have your increased tax base and can incorporate. Stop listening to the no more density in our Andy Griffith hamlet crowd. Those days are long gone. Now make some decisions to make HB Into a classy ...more
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Feb 2, 13 1:13 PM
Thank you 27 Dan I have been saying this since day one, the Shinnicocks deserve a Casino Hotel Marina Complex and so does Hampton Bays and the useless incompetents who run the Town of Southampton Doesn't anyone realize the potential for an upscale resort hotel casino and marina? How about the on the grounds of the old Gruman Plant at Calverton? Even Riverhead is to stupid to capitalize on their property. Admiteditly such a project is a fight, but it is a fight worh fighting for.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on Feb 3, 13 6:03 PM
You wanna see dregs... Yeah, put in a Casino. Don't forget Foxwoods is in the middle of the woods. You want to see what a Casino does to a small seaside town. You go drive down to Atlantic City... It was once very much like HB at one time.
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Feb 4, 13 3:08 PM
Its all about what you allow to go in around it if you keep in isolated with a police presence around it it will stay like Mohegan or Foxwoods if you allow the surrounding area to be zoned retail like AC you would be asking for trouble.sounds like it can't be worse than the Hidden Cove section 8 shelter raw deal that was snuck in in the middle of the night.
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Feb 4, 13 3:30 PM
Respectfully UD, that's exactly my point... ACs Casinos have quite a Police presents. When you travel outside the safe zone is when the ugliness of a casino presents is felt. The fact is, most of the surrounding areas in AC are residential. When you mention retail zones. What about downtown HBs? What happens there?
Read some state reports regarding casinos effects on surrounding areas. It's never pretty.
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Feb 4, 13 4:41 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Warrior woman (5), Southampton on Feb 4, 13 9:59 PM
This whole thing would have been settled if the powers that be, the big powers that USED to come to Southampotn in the summer many years ago, were around today. They would have seen the type of people who beguiled the "--five" Those men lled the Shinnecock men astray and have made many problems for the Shinnecock Nation. This is such a shame for everyone.
No way in this time should there be a casino in the East End of LI. There is not enough room, not enough roads to bear the traffic that ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Feb 6, 13 5:43 PM