The chair of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, indicted this week in a bribery scheme involving a multi-million-dollar casino project, is accused of using tens of thousands of dollars from the conspiracy on his mistress, a home gym and a stay at an expensive Boston hotel, authorities said.
Cedric Cromwell, a 55-year-old Attleboro resident, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over claims he used his position as tribe chair to enrich himself and engaged in a bribery conspiracy with David DeQuattro.
DeQuattro, a Warwick, Rhode Island resident, is the owner of an architecture-and-design company that was contracted as part of the tribe’s effort to build a casino and resort in Taunton, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.
The governing body of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which has roughly 3,000 total members, elected Cromwell as chair in 2009. He was reelected to serve in the 4-year position again in 2013 and 2017 as well, court records showed.
His responsibilities in the position consisted of presiding over all meetings of the tribal council and performing “the usual duties of a chairperson,” including acting as the tribe’s official spokesperson, engaging in public relations, serving as the coordinator over all tribal government activities and exercising any other authority delegated to him by the tribal council.
However, authorities alleged Cromwell, as chair of the tribe and head of the Wampanoag Tribe Gaming Authority, used his position and influence to solicit and accept payments and “other things of value” from DeQuattro’s architecture firm in exchange for “favorable action.”
The indictment claimed the gaming authority’s contract with DeQuattro’s company did not have a termination date. It just stated either party could terminate the contract for cause with seven days’ notice or “for convenience” with one month’s notice.
From July 2014 to May 2017, DeQuattro is accused of providing Cromwell with a stream of payments and in-kind benefits valued at $57,549 in exchange for the architecture firm being paid nearly $5 million under its contract, Lelling’s office said.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s plan to build and operate the casino-resort in Taunton, which they were going to call the First Light Resort and Casino, aimed to generate revenue for the tribe, according to the 23-page indictment against Cromwell and DeQuattro.
The Tribal Council tried to remove Cromwell from power earlier this week, sources told MassLive, but the measure was narrowly defeated.
“The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is deeply concerned about Chairman Cedric Cromwell being indicted on several charges,” the tribe said in a statement. “Tribal Council will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon and will be taking immediate action.”
The payments to Cromwell allegedly included $44,000 in personal checks written by DeQuattro to CM International Consulting LLC, an entity owned by one of the tribe chair’s friends, according to officials.
The tribe chair is accused of telling his friend to deposit DeQuattro’s checks and use the funds to buy treasurer’s checks to pay either Cromwell or a shell entity he had incorporated called One Nation