Sunday, October 07, 2007

Letter to the Editor ~Choctaw casino proposal raises many questions

Choctaw casino proposal raises many questions

I applaud your editorial about the trustworthiness of Chief Beasley Denson. If he was serious about contributing 4 percent of gross gaming revenue to local governments, he could have come with a signed, written promissory agreement to that effect.

Even so, I wonder what happens in a few years when there is a new chief. Would that agreement still hold? And who determines how much the gross gaming revenue amount is? Is it someone hired by the Choctaws? How about an audit and someone from the local government also having a hand in determining that figure?

I also wonder if the Jackson County law enforcement agencies would have any jurisdiction on the Indian resort property. For sure the state Gaming Commission would not be allowed, and I wonder if the state Highway Patrol would have jurisdiction.

Chief Denson speaks of competition, yet he places himself above the competitors by locating right off the interstate, not paying state taxes, and not abiding by the regulations of the state Gaming Commission. If he wants to compete with other casinos, he could buy the former Broadwater or President site... or a site near the port of Gulfport or one in Hancock County. He seems to want a competitive economic advantage at the expense of the citizens of Jackson County, who do not even want a casino there.

BILL ESTERLY Biloxi

3 comments:

Franklin said...

I am concerned about the representations of Chief Miko Denson that the tribe would pay to Jackson County $7,000,000 or 4% in local impact aid. It is represented that in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Section 11, 25 U.S.C., 2710(b)(2)(B)(iv)and (v) that the tribe has the authority to mitigate the impact of the project upon Jackson County and the local municipalities that may be impacted by the project. If one reads the fine print they would see that the 4% that the Chief is speaking of is on "net revenues" which means gross revenues of an Indian gaming activity less amounts paid out as, or paid for, prizes and total operating expenses, excluding management fees. Since Jackson County has no control over total operating expenses, 4% of a number that we do not control may be zero dollars.

Of further concern to me is the fact that Chief Phillip Martin represented to members of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors that he was estimating payments to the County to be some $10,000,000 to $12,000,000. To begin with, I much as other members of the Board were being reeled in with visions of this matter solving increased costs of improving our County. After a bit of research, my visions of tax relief began to become quite cloudy. After researching many issues of Indian Gaming the clouds cleared and my vision was then quite clear that we were being taken for the proverbial "ride of our life". Then I became further disturbed and dismayed, that after Hurricane Katrina, Chief Martin had attempted to start a "bingo operation" on the tribe's lands to help us recover. Needless to say, this was done "in the dark of night" without any knowledge of our Board and the question lingers, "who was he trying to help?"

By the time to begin the campaign for my reelection I was seeing very clearly that not only was this a bad idea for Jackson County to have very valuable property come off the tax rolls but also there was no guarantees with regard to payments being promised to benefit our constituents and replace this lost actual revenue. The Indians do not pay property taxes, and any taxable development on the property would be forever lost. During the campaign I was contacted by both sides of this issue. Each of their desires was to encourage me to take an active role in this matter. The problem was that I did not need any encouragement, since I had already made up my mind that this project was not going to be good for Jackson County. One of the individuals that contacted me was my loyal supporter in the past, Mr. Carl Crawford. He encouraged me to become the negotiator, the broker, with the new Chief Denson to cut a deal with Chief Miko because he was willing to pay Jackson County some $21,000,000 the first year. I refused Mr. Crawford but told him that I had requested a meeting with Chief Denson and that I would like to do it on the full light of day. Mr. Crawford suggested that a group of individuals go to visit the Chief to discuss this matter. I had no interest in this approach but told him that I would consider it. The next thing I knew was that there was a meeting of such a group on August 28th.

I now find myself ashamed that I was gullible enough to even consider this "impossible dream" could have become a reality. I am ashamed that even though four members of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Barton, Mr. Broussard, Mr. McKay and I had considered this an economic development matter, that we had violated the "open meetings" laws that we are bound to operate under. We found it alright to meet on several occasions with Chief Martin and his Attorney General Mr. Clancey because this was economic development. Our vision was blurred because I believe we all had vision of "sugar plums" dancing in our heads. I say we all had visions, but let me correct that statement, all of us except Mr. Robert Norvel, who always said "no thanks" to the meetings and that this is the Voter's choice. I suppose that in our most recent meeting I was quite dismayed that Mr. Broussard would cut me off and not have Chief Denson answer a few simple questions.some of these questions originated from a statement of Amy Moritz Ridenour at the Hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on lobbying practices involving Indian Tribes on June 22, 2005. It can be read in its entirety by reviewing it at the following link. ( http://www.senate.gov/~scia/2005hrgs/062205hrg/ridenour.pdf ) A few questions that originated from an audit on the Effectiveness of the Office for Victims of Crime Tribal Victim Assistance Program, Audit Report 06-08, February 2006, Office of the Inspector General that can be viewed in its entirety at the following links. (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/OJP/a0608/app3.htm and http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/OJP/a0608/exec.htm) , just a few questions that originated from a review of an article in the Indianz.Com which can be reviewed at ( http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/008993.asp ) regarding Lobbying Report: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Monday, June 27, 2005, a few questions that originated from a letter dated September 17, 1993, CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, ADVISORY OPINION 1993-12, Phillip Martin, Chief, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians concerning a Federal Election Commission Advisory Opinion Number 1993-12 about to a proposed program of contributions which the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians wishes to undertake, located at (http://herndon3.sdrdc.com/ao/no/930012.html) and a few questions relative to the fact that in seven years the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians had received direct federal funding in the amount of $170,311,899 from FY 2000-2006, as indicated at FedSpending.org a project of OMB watch which can be viewed at (http://www.fedspending.org/faads/faads.php?recip_id=592959&sortby=u&detail=-1&datype=T&reptype=r&database=faads&fiscal_year=&submit=GO) Just a few simple questions is all I asked for, questions that the voters of Jackson County should be provided with their answers. I should have never been dismayed though, since Tim Broussard stated from the very first meeting with Chief Martin that he was totally in support of building the Casino on Highway 57. It would be great for Jackson County. Why should he be any different with the election of a new chief? Mr. Barton quizzed me as to why I had to make it so personal when I refused to be shut down? I shared that it wasn't personal, the voters of Jackson County deserved an answer to my questions that we had all previously agreed would be fair! But to no surprise, no answers to the questions were received that day, and never have the answers been received, and I suppose never will the answers be received.

In closing, there is a scripture that the name Frank is associated with and that I have seen displayed many times. John 8:32 (NASB) might be quoted "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” In sharing this information with each of you I have the feeling that I have shared the truth with each of you and it sets me free. Now you are each free to test what I have represented to determine if it is true. I am sure that some will disavow that my representations are accurate, but my elephant's memory doesn't forget much. Tom, a friend of mine one said, "Frank, you just can't make this stuff up". I say to that, "Tom, none of this is made up, there are no shades of gray in this stuff!"

Sincerely,

Frank


Franklin E Leach, CPA
District IV Supervisor

Alasandra said...

Thank you for your response, Frank. I just hope all the voters of Jackson County educate themselves on this issue before they vote. I am afraid too many have bought into the 'false promises' and slick TV ad's and have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

theron said...

Why are a few white people against poor Native Americans? Alasandra told me that we are not "poor." To Alasandra, "Walk a mile in our moccasins before you critisze." We are not trying to cheat your people although your people have cheated us from time and tome again. Jack Abramhoff is a crook! We trusted him to lobby for us and look what he did! It is not our fault! Just look around. After Katrina, There has been Five hundred million dollars of fraud with the federal government with NON_NATIVE AMERICANS ripping them off! Why does Alasandra take an interest in the Choctaws? her interest is not fair to Choctaws. She is a racsist. She does not want My people to have the same opportunities as white people. WEPAYTAXES! Our businesses have paid out more taxes to the state than anyone thinks. For instance, Alsandra, a Non-Native American works for the tribe and say 3000 alsandras work for the tribe, they have to pay state taxes as a non Native American. You people complain about we dont pay taxes you are wrong! If I come to Jackson county and worked at McDonald's-I would have to pay TAXES! It would take an act of congress to turn the situation around. The Congress has given us autonomy and soverienty. We are under the authority of the US government.Alasandra said, Choctaws never live around the coast...She is wrong! Choctaws have always lived along the gulf coast. One of our famous Choctaws that we claim is Bret Favre. His grandmother was a ful blood Choctaw. All the other tribes that lived there was Choctaw with different trbal name. For Instance, Pascagouala is a Choctaw word for "people of the Bread." Correct pronounciation is Paska Okla. Although they may had different trbal names - they spoke the Choctaw language and shared the same customs.What we say, is the truth. We are not your average American people.It seems that the average American always wants to defraud, steal, cheat and other unscrupulous activities. In business, there is only a hand full of Choctaws that may have "Business expertise" so we have to hire Whitepeople. If things go wrong...it is the white man's fault. We want them to run our businesses fairly and make a profit for us. We use the money for health, education, and other infrastructural needs. Mississippi does not give any aid. We give Mississippi aid. Non-Native Americans...have a heart...after all you should be paying us for living on our land! You people do not know much about our people, yet you say stuff about us that is not true. I am proud to be a member of the Great Chctaw Nation. Your people have been keeping us down for a long time... we are rising and taking our place as AMERICANS! Dont be concerned about us... be concerned about your own people who perpetrate all kinds of criminal activity eg ENRON,bank robbers, killers, thieves, etc. You dont hear about Native americans committing all those crime every day of the year.