Why did $54 million in Porkulus go to one of the most successful Indian casinos?

posted at 3:35 pm on June 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, we knew that electing an untested executive to the presidency was a big gamble, didn’t we?  We also knew Democrats gambled big with Porkulus that their agenda of liberal hobby-horse spending would coincide with an economic recovery.  Unfortunately, neither gamble paid off, but one casino managed to hit it big with Porkulus and Barack Obama, thanks to Chris Dodd:

With the support of Sen. Chris Dodd, D.-Conn., the federal government has awarded $54 million to Connecticut’s politically well-connected Mohegan Indian tribe, which operates one of the highest grossing casinos in the U.S.

The tribe runs the sprawling Mohegan Sun casino, halfway between New York City andBoston, which earned more than $1.3 billion in gross revenues in 2009. Each tribe member receives a cut of the profits, a number a tribal official said was “less than $30,000″ per capita per year. The stimulus money is a loan from a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development program that is meant to help communities of less than 20,000 people that have been “unable to obtain other credit at reasonable rates and terms and are unable to finance the proposed project from their own resources.”

Yeah, but everyone was getting this, right?  The Mohegans just got their fair share, I’m sure.  Or, perhaps not:

The $54 million loan represents more than one-third of the $167.8 million allocated by the USDA in the latest wave of stimulus funding for its rural development program.The loan is just part of $74 million in loans directed to the Mohegans by the USDA for the construction of a community center and tribal government building.

USDA officials said that part of their consideration in moving forward with the project was the tribe’s continued challenge in obtaining credit because of the ongoing economic crisis.

The Indian tribe making over $1.3 billion in receipts from its casino wound up with a third of the entire outlay from the USDA’s rural development program?  And how exactly does an entity earning $1.3 billion  from a casino, with $53.6 million in profit have trouble getting credit?  They clearly have assets in their community for collateral.

The “cut of the profits” argument is misleading as well.  The tribe members get a little less than $30K per year in profit sharing.  Many of them presumably work at the casino itself and earn salaries for their work apart from the profit sharing.  The casino arguably should generate a secondary support economy in their community as well.

This looks much more like a politically-connected decision to channel federal dollars to the influential Mohegans, in order to get some of it back in political support.


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Where will the 20 billion of BP money go via Obama?

RobCon on June 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Chicago payoff. Hope and change. Yada yada yada.

Guardian on June 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Yeah, but can I still smoke there?

Adamski on June 17, 2010 at 3:39 PM

This looks much more like a politically-connected decision to channel federal dollars to the influential Mohegans, in order to get some of it back in political support.

No, rilly?

Daggett on June 17, 2010 at 3:40 PM

This looks much more like a politically-connected decision to channel federal dollars to the influential Mohegans, in order to get some of it back in political support.

Well, Duh!

GnuBreed on June 17, 2010 at 3:40 PM

tribe members get a little less than $30K per year in profit sharing.

Is there some Polish\German tribe I can join with similar payouts?

WashJeff on June 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I wonder what they are smoking in that peace pipe?

PatriotRider on June 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Where will the 20 billion of BP money go via Obama?

RobCon on June 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

here

upinak on June 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Wow. Will we ever get to see these criminals (meaning Dodd and his ilk) frog-marched to jail?

ornery_independent on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

That’s a lot of wampum.

kingsjester on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Is there some Polish\German tribe I can join with similar payouts?

WashJeff on June 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Why? Don’t you know you can buy your way into Indian Corps now?

upinak on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

This looks much more like a politically-connected decision to channel federal dollars to the influential Mohegans, in order to get some of it back in political support.

The dickens you say!

ladyingray on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

“Always bet on black.”

Wait… is that racist now?

Abby Adams on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

This is just totem bullsh*t.

Sharke on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

…and if you question Dodd on his relationship with the Mohegans with this funds transfer, your new name will be Gen. Custer.
A perfect example of Democrat Party corruption.
Sleazy but brillant, which is the best thing you can say about DNC politics.

RobCon on June 17, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I’m so !@#%$ing embarrassed to live in Connecticut…

SuperCool on June 17, 2010 at 3:43 PM

But But were a Little People Tribe — Vote Block for Sale Inquire within …

wheels on June 17, 2010 at 3:43 PM

What more proof do we need that we have a Gangster Government? Now they are even bankrolling Casinos. What next, drugs and prostitution?

TheBigOldDog on June 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Reparations

portlandon on June 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM

It’s ok – they’re feeding it into the slots $1 at a time, and the taxpayers will get back any jackpots that are hit.

Wind Rider on June 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Total compromise of our free election system…
ACORN and like groups.
Purchasing votes.
Owning the media / false reporting
Using campuses for political purposes.

The enemy within…

Keemo on June 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Pork. The other white meat.

seven on June 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Obama and the Dems bet on black with the stimulus and ended up hitting “00″ instead.

teke184 on June 17, 2010 at 3:47 PM

palm greasing.

ted c on June 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Van Jones: referring to the American Indians said:

“our native American brothers and sisters” were “pushed, bullied, mistreated, and shoved into all the land that we didn’t want. Guess what? Give them the wealth, give them the wealth! No justice on stolen land…we owe them a debt.”

Any questions?

Opposite Day on June 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Friends of DoDo … Like most Democrats they [pay off their voters. Don’t you think the walking around money the casino got will help in this year’s elections? If you don’t you aren’t paying attention.

It’s how all these thugocracies work all around the world. It’s just some of them end of killing lots of their unarmed citizens in the process.

tarpon on June 17, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Don’t you know you can buy your way into Indian Corps now?

upinak on June 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Whose campaign do I have to donate to? I am thinking this is some scam like IL politics.

WashJeff on June 17, 2010 at 3:52 PM

They always have some nice Classic / Retro rock shows at Mohegan Sun. If I only lived on the east coast…..

juanito on June 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM

In this case they bet on the red…

ajacksonian on June 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM

What’s wrong with giving money to Indian casinos?

Narutoboy on June 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM

And we DO need a weekly Captain Louis Renault Award.

ajacksonian on June 17, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Indian

Tisk, tisk Ed. I believe the proper term is Casino Owners of American.

Caper29 on June 17, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Joe is keeping track of every dime of stimulus money. This is the biggest crew of thieves the country has ever seen and their time is running out. I hope the Repubs will still remember how to subpoena someone.

tim c on June 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Where will the 20 billion of BP money go via Obama?

RobCon on June 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

To progeny of ACORN for oil spill relief.

petefrt on June 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Is there some Polish\German tribe I can join with similar payouts?

WashJeff on June 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Ask Helen Thomas, if maybe the Jews go home you could get something.

fourdeucer on June 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM

WHY YOU ASK???BECAUSE THAT’S WERE OBAMA WANTS IT TO GO.CHICAGO THUGGERY

thmcbb on June 17, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Why is $400M going to Hamas? Why is $ going for bike paths? The whole porkulus thing is waste, fraud, and political payoffs. We know it and they know it. They also know we know and don’t care.

Kissmygrits on June 17, 2010 at 4:01 PM

If there’s one group I don’t mind seeing get some of the money, it’s this one.

AnninCA on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

BO gotta stop smoking from that there peace pipe.

jbh45 on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

If Chris Dodd is involved I wouldn’t doubt that some money laundering was also involved. I wonder how much has found it’s way into his back pocket…….?

Vntnrse on June 17, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Many ALL of them presumably work at the casino itself and earn salaries for their work apart from the profit sharing.

FIFY Ed. Oh and the starting rate for Tribal members is $25 an hour skilled or unskilled. Plus free medical and dental provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Tribal members, and until recently a fully matched 401K. Granted tribal government members took a 10% pay cut when the economy collapsed, but no one was laid off.
I know a few tribal members and tons of workers there as I can literally see Mohegan Sun from my house. Everyone in town knows how they got that money.

Johnnyreb on June 17, 2010 at 4:07 PM

They clearly have assets in their community for collateral.

It depends on what you are defining as assets. Could they collateralize their winnings? Probably. Could they collateralize anything else? No. The land that the reservations sit on is held in trust for perpetuity by the Federal Government. It can’t be used for loans. If a loan is given and a default occurs on a building or equipment the lending institution is sol it can’t repossess the building or enter reservation land to repossess the equipment. Because of this getting collateral to do anything is quite difficult for any of the first Nation tribes.
BTW I was unaware of this problem until 2005 when I visited a business on the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and asked a tribal leader why they didn’t have more businesses. He patiently explained the above to me. In 2007 I was teaching on the Navajo Reservation and asked a Navajo Tribal leader if what the Cherokee leader told me was correct. He confirmed what the Cherokee leader had said.

chemman on June 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

If Chris Dodd is involved I wouldn’t doubt that some money laundering was also involved. I wonder how much has found it’s way into his back pocket…….?

Vntnrse on June 17, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Enough to buy another Irish Mansion I expect.

Johnnyreb on June 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

If there’s one group I don’t mind seeing get some of the money, it’s this one.

AnninCA on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Then why don’t you send them a check for $10,000?

fogw on June 17, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Maybe they needed to buy new canoes,no,that doesn’t make
any sense,okay,I’ve got it,I bet,Obama was going to visit
one of the casinos,after he played golf,and they had to
vacuum the desert so its clean for Obama!!(snark).

canopfor on June 17, 2010 at 4:12 PM

How about a Criminal Audit on Team Liberal!!

canopfor on June 17, 2010 at 4:14 PM

The local casino here with a 40 million dollar casino/hotel pays 25% more than I do in property taxes on my 1600 sq/ft house.

Abolish the tribal system, give them the land (and don’t let the tribal “elders” rip them off) to divide as they wish AS CITIZENS of this country and not a separate entity that is above the law.

WitchDoctor on June 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Why did $54 million in Porkulus go to one of the most successful Indian casinos?
=============================

Maybe,they had a imaginary oil spill!!

canopfor on June 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM

wonder how much organized crime money gets washed through this casino?

jp on June 17, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Why did $54 million in Porkulus go to one of the most successful Indian casinos?
=================================

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on June 17, 2010 at 4:20 PM

If there’s one group I don’t mind seeing get some of the money, it’s this one.

AnninCA on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

You’re kidding, right?
These are the biggest whining moochers outside of the ghettos.
We’ve paid them enough reparations for being in a war that they started and they lost generations ago.

Jenfidel on June 17, 2010 at 4:22 PM

chemman on June 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

But of course, they’d never dream of buying land and getting a loan to start up a business on non-reservation land like the rest of us have to do…

Jenfidel on June 17, 2010 at 4:24 PM

What’s wrong with giving money to Indian casinos?

Narutoboy on June 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Fair question.

I wouldn’t because…

1. They seem to do very well without stimulas.
2. The battle cry was to use the money to get the infrastruction back in shape and put Americans back to work.

This just seems like a lot of money going to a very small group of people. Political payoff for support back in Nov 08.

hawkdriver on June 17, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Where will the 20 billion of BP money go via Obama?

RobCon on June 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Right into democrat coffers, and pockets.

capejasmine on June 17, 2010 at 4:32 PM

It depends on what you are defining as assets. Could they collateralize their winnings? Probably. Could they collateralize anything else? No. The land that the reservations sit on is held in trust for perpetuity by the Federal Government. It can’t be used for loans. If a loan is given and a default occurs on a building or equipment the lending institution is sol it can’t repossess the building or enter reservation land to repossess the equipment. Because of this getting collateral to do anything is quite difficult for any of the first Nation tribes.
BTW I was unaware of this problem until 2005 when I visited a business on the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and asked a tribal leader why they didn’t have more businesses. He patiently explained the above to me. In 2007 I was teaching on the Navajo Reservation and asked a Navajo Tribal leader if what the Cherokee leader told me was correct. He confirmed what the Cherokee leader had said.

This is correct. I really think this is really a big to do about nothing. I didn’t agree with the stimulus but I really can’t blame the US government for giving a loan to the tribe, as they are the only ones who can really do it.

Due to tribal lands being held in trust by the US government, Native American tribes have a huge problem of being able to borrow money from commercial lenders because they have no assets to guarantee the loans with, since they cannot sell their land. No mortgages, no credit revolver, etc. A lot of their revenue has to be used as net working capital to handle the ups and downs since they cannot get short term loans if they are short on payroll one month.

They also have to be ready to pay almost everything up front or businesses will not deal with them. If a business starts working for the tribe and then there is a change in leadership, the new leadership can decide not to pay and the business has very little recourse against the tribe.

Punky on June 17, 2010 at 4:38 PM

If there’s one group I don’t mind seeing get some of the money, it’s this one.

AnninCA on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

And of all the Indian Reservations in the country, THIS one needs it the worstest. Ann, please go back to CA – we don’t need more empty headed liberals in TX.

skeeter on June 17, 2010 at 4:40 PM

There is a very small tribe of Indians in Usk, Washington called the Kalispel indians. They are pretty self-suficient and manufacture some of the best rifle and hand gun cases in the country. They could use some stimulus if anyone is interested in a very high quality aluminum gun or rifle case.

fourdeucer on June 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Dodd has stated that he will not run for re-election this year.

Dodd is not a wealthy man.

Dodd needs good references and friends with money.

Friend with money want one thing: Money from you to them.

Dodd made a very good bet with the Mohegans.

And by the way, the per capita is WAY higher than $30k. The $30K is merely one of the cash portions of the per capita. Each per capita in benefits and paid expenses for the tribal members of this specific tribe get over, on average, $60k in benefits and paid expense. And this has nothing to do with items like fully paid college wherever they want to go, completey free healthcare benefits, housing benefits and other spiffs. Then there are the jobs that they report to, but, for many of them, really never work at. It is just that they are on the payroll. Get it ???

georgealbert on June 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Punky, re: credit for Indian businesses…you have not idea what you are talking about. The folks that manage the casinos can borrow money in hearbeat and lots of it if they want

georgealbert on June 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM

The loan is just part of $74 million in loans directed to the Mohegans by the USDA for the construction of a community center and tribal government building.

That must be one helluva community center and tribal govt building that the community organizer is funding with our confiscated dollars.

What did it cost to build the Whitehouse?

I think we may need to rebuild it after Pinnochio and crew leave those digs must be pretty shabby for a Resident if a bunch of Indians… er Native Americans need a 75 million dollar place!

dhunter on June 17, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Tribal Casino’s like Mohegun Sun and the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula CA., generate BILLIONS of dollars. Yet these tribes, amongst many still work to get grants that could benefit the many tribes that do not have gaming.

In CA, Tribal gaming was promoted as helping all Native Americans, and that simply is NOT the case. Many tribes in CA, like Redding Rancheria, Picayune Rancheria, Pechanga have all CUT their membership, to enrich the remaining members.

In fact, Pechanga, which has cut 25% of their tribe isn’t even the worst offender. The Picayune Rancheria has terminated 50% of their membership. Yet they donate so much money, that our politicians look away from the civil rights violations they loudly decry MIGHT happen in AZ.

Democratic Gubenatorial Candidate Jerry Brown has taken so much tribal money, that he took THEIR side vs. the people of CA.

There’s a lot to learn about many of the tribal governments that have been corrupted by money and power

originalpechanga on June 17, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Test.

(Just trying to figure out why all my comments on this story, however innocuous, keep getting caught in the hyperfilter.)

notropis on June 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM

OK, let’s try again.

The headline is wrong.

The casino didn’t get the loan.

The Mohegans did.

They own the casino, but the loan isn’t for the casino.

notropis on June 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM

speaking as a Native, I don’t think they can put up the property as collateral, tribal property being as such may be sticky ground for banks to collateralize.

Kaptain Amerika on June 17, 2010 at 5:05 PM

One more try:

The headline is wrong.

The $$ (loan, not handout) did not go to the cas!no, it went to the tr!be, for non-cas!no related purposes.

Doesn’t change the fact that the tr!be doesn’t seem to be hurting for money, and the deal was clearly political.

notropis on June 17, 2010 at 5:17 PM

In California I knew an “Indian” who was receiving $30,000 a month from his tribe, just for being part of the tribe…and BTW, that is no federal taxes and minor state tax.

right2bright on June 17, 2010 at 5:18 PM

georgealbert on June 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Tax free money to them…

right2bright on June 17, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Luke 16
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
1Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
3″The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

5″So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

6″ ‘Eight hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’

7″Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
” ‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

8″The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10″Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13″No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

AnotherOpinion on June 17, 2010 at 5:22 PM

If there’s one group I don’t mind seeing get some of the money, it’s this one.

AnninCA on June 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Thanks so much for sharing that.

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Why is this thing eating my posts?

I find it ard to believe that the casino’s cannot put up collateral and sign a contract that a bank would accept and would hold up in court.
If the taxpayer funded Federal Stimulus has to go to Indian reservations then I would question what the Government (Dems) recieve in return…. besides a couple of hundred of stuffed ballot boxes!
I sure hope this Taxpayer money doesn’t go to Indian Tribes only to be given back at election time to the local and national Democrat running for office!
Then I’m sure if it so happens that it does that Eric Holer will be front and center dismissing any investigations or overturning any convictions!

dhunter on June 17, 2010 at 6:07 PM

notropis, the offending filter word is ca$ino, for your future reference.

GnuBreed on June 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

originalpechanga on June 17, 2010 at 4:58 PM

I’ve read your comments before. I’d really love to see someone like write a book about tribal politic. If that outside your time constraints, what about submitting an essay for the Green Room?

hawkdriver on June 17, 2010 at 6:38 PM

like “you” write…

hawkdriver on June 17, 2010 at 6:38 PM

It could make for one hell of a bingo jackpot. Think of the business that would bring in!

leftnomore on June 17, 2010 at 8:57 PM

I was wondering where the Mohegans got the money to continue with the Government Center project after shutting it down a year ago because of the economy. Movement on that project has just started again in the past few weeks. Hmmmmmm!

jaimo on June 17, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Ah, Captain Renault, we’ve missed you so…….

Robert17 on June 17, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Punky, re: credit for Indian businesses…you have not idea what you are talking about. The folks that manage the casinos can borrow money in hearbeat and lots of it if they want

I think you are missing the point. What bank is going to give the tribe an unsecured loan for a project on tribal lands? The cannot repo the land or the building if they go into default. The tribe is probably a separate legal entity than the casino, so they can’t go after future earnings.

Sure the casino could borrow money, but only for business related activities. A bank is not going to give a loan to a casino so it can build a building for the tribe that does nothing to increase the casino’s revenues.

Punky on June 17, 2010 at 9:43 PM

You’d be hard press to find an American Indian at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. The staff is like any other casino or restaurant in this country: whites, hispanics, asians and blacks (not that many though) working the “good” jobs dealing with the public and illegal or new immigrants from Latin America and Asian countries doing the other jobs.

Indians? Very hard to find given that they are only 0.2% of the CT population with a margin of error of 0.1% (data US Census).

Most ironic: they block other Indian tribes from gaining official status thus blocking other casinos opening. Google Donald Trump and CT Indians or RI Indians for more info.

I can’t believe they only give tribe members $30,000 a year. They’re ripping off their own people.

hotdax on June 17, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Ed,

You just don’t understand how government works. When the Dems get put on an Oversite Committee, they understand that to mean that they are supposed to overlook massive taxpayer giveaways to their political supporters.

Please get a clue. And stop trying to give the people facts; this will only disrupt their Oneness karma.

dissent555 on June 18, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Dances With Dodds.

docflash on June 18, 2010 at 9:47 AM

This is nothing more than the wealth redistribution that Van Jones promised would go to American Indians. Don’t you remember him yelling “Give them the wealth! Give them the wealth!? It amazes me that so many can’t see that this whole stimulus program was just a grab bag of goodies for liberal causes, organizations and redistibution of money to Union members and non workers. Never mind that in the process it will also bankrupt American families and ruin our childrens future.

SGinNC on June 18, 2010 at 3:41 PM