Tag: Scandal

A mistress, home gym and hotel stay: How feds uncovered the casino bribery scandal involving Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chair Cedric Cromwell

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

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Dutch King Willem-Alexander Apologizes After Greek Vacation Scandal

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are in hot water with their royal subjects after taking an ill-timed vacation to Greece last week, even as the Netherlands was in the midst of a partial lockdown.

On Friday, the royal couple and their three teenage daughters left Amsterdam on a government jet to enjoy some time away at their private Grecian villa. In the meantime, coronavirus cases in the Netherlands had doubled over the previous two weeks, and the government advised citizens to travel as little as possible. In response to the backlash, the King, Queen, and their youngest daughter, Princess Ariane, flew back home via a scheduled flight the very next day, while their two eldest daughters, Princess Alexia and Princess Catharina-Amalia, returned Tuesday. On Wednesday, the royals released a video apologizing for the poorly-planned family holiday.

In the video, King Willem-Alexander says, “It hurts to have betrayed your faith in us. Even though the trip was in accordance with regulations, it was very unwise to not take into account the impact of the new constraints on our society. Our own decision to return was made from the realization that we should not have gone. From the beginning of the corona crisis, we have done our best to stay within the confines of the corona policy, to find space, and to be there as much as possible for everyone who seeks support in uncertain times. It is a difficult time for everyone, a time of limitations, concerns, fear, anger, and uncertainty. We will continue to work with you to fight the coronavirus and get it under control so that everyone in our country can resume normal life as soon as possible.”

In a letter to parliament on Sunday, the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitted that he was also culpable for the incident, as he was aware of the King’s plans but “realized too late” that the royal holiday “could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures,” adding, “This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday. I bear full ministerial responsibility.”

This is actually the second time a Greek vacation has come back to bite the Dutch royals. In August, the King and Queen also had to apologize after a photo of them standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a restaurant owner on the Greek island of Milos emerged in violation of social-distancing guidelines. The King and Queen wrote in a tweet at the time, “In the spontaneity of the moment, we did not pay enough attention to that. Of course we should have. Because compliance with corona rules is also essential on vacations to get the virus under control.”

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