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Apr 7, 2010 11:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Gumbs returned to Shinnecock Nation leadership role by vote

Apr 7, 2010 11:57 AM

Lance Gumbs, who spearheaded the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s bid for a casino starting in 2001 and saw it through most of the last nine years, was voted back onto the tribe’s Board of Trustees during the Nation’s elections Tuesday night.

Four candidates vied for three spots on the board, and when the votes were tallied, Mr. Gumbs and incumbent Tribal Trustees Randy King and Gordell Wright were elected. Incumbent Fred Bess, who has been at the fore of the tribe’s casino effort for the last year, lost his bid for reelection.

Mr. King was the top vote-getter and will remain chairman of the Board of Trustees. The tribe does not release vote totals for each candidate.

In the last year, the visions of Mr. Bess and Mr. Gumbs have diverged, each man advocating different paths the tribe should follow toward a future casino in development. Mr. Bess has been the front man and intermediary between tribe members and Detroit casino investor Michael Malick, and he has said the tribe should be focused on getting a casino close to the population center of New York City, even if that meant accepting offers of property in the Catskills region. Mr. Gumbs has said the tribe should be looking to Suffolk County for its casino development, so that the facility could provide jobs for the tribe members and could be managed more closely by the tribe.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Gumbs was reticent to talk about whether he thought their differing views played a role in the tribal vote and noted that individuals often miss being elected to the Board of Trustees by only a few votes, or are elected to the board intermittently.

“The tribe spoke—that’s all I’ll say,” Mr. Gumbs said. “Their message is pretty clear.”

Mr. Bess could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.

During the year Mr. Gumbs was off the board, his role in the casino effort was clearly marginalized. Last summer, when a large contingent of Shinnecock officials, led by Mr. Bess, attended a gaming convention in Saratoga Springs with Mr. Malick—flying in on Mr. Malick’s private jet—Mr. Gumbs paid his own way and traveled to the convention by himself.

Mr. Gumbs said Mr. Bess, his longtime partner in the casino effort, offered him congratulations after the vote on Tuesday night and will not vanish from the scene.

“We still have a lot of work to do, and we’ll all be working together,” he said. “Fred is an integral part of our community. He and I have worked together for the last 20 years on this, and it’s not something he’s going to walk away from, just like I didn’t last year.”

Michael Wright

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This was an interesting article. Every NA Tribal entity on the verge of obtaining a casino demonstrates similar struggles in power and philosophy. I would get the best location possible for the casino. I would limit my exposure to the external business people that want to "help". I would get my tribal politics in order and in alignment because the money will change everything. Worry about tribal jobs, but only if the individuals are capable of doing the jobs, Use the profits to diversify and create ...more
By henrythepoet (4), brookhaven on Apr 8, 10 9:54 AM
"Gambling is evil and angers the Spirits".
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Apr 8, 10 8:57 PM
Anyone intersested should read:


Link: http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/reports/ecoimprpt.pdf

Here's a sample...

The majority of jobs are relatively low-skilled, low-paying
service types...

One of the most measurable negative impacts is the drain on public services, such as sewers and road maintenance. More controversial are the costs of increased crime and crime prevention in casino neighborhoods ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Apr 9, 10 3:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well cited Soundview;
Just look at Atlantic City and the non-delivered promise of prosperity and renovation to that city;
The only saving grace is that gambling money going to other states would stay here but thats not much of a reason to establish a casino here on the East End.
Let's hope the promised development of Gabreski Airport delivers higher paying tech jobs.
By diogenes (57), westhampton on Apr 12, 10 2:03 PM
Unfortunately, the point is lost because the Shinnecock tribe will be the owners, and gain directly by the profits, and not by taxes. Indeed the casino will likely not be on tribal land so the tax gains will be to the community in which it is located. Having the casino in Suffolk, as Lance Gumbs understands, is close enough to NYC to gain most of the gaming public, and offers the added feature of jobs for those members of the tribe that want work in addition to their share of the profit.
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Apr 18, 10 8:14 AM