"All is not well in the Kingdom of Mashantucket. It's no secret that the casino business is off. Slots are down. Competition is growing. When Standard & Poor's downgraded the Mashantucket Pequots' credit rating recently, one of the problems analysts cited was the large distributions the tribe makes to its members.
And with business problems, apparently, come political problems.
About 190 members of the tribe, a significant portion of the total tribal membership of 800 to 900, have signed a petition, presented to the Tribal Council in March, demanding a meeting to discuss plans to cut government spending by $40 million.
The cutbacks being planned by the council might please the S&P credit analysts, but they've clearly drawn the ire of rank-and-file members.
As part of the council's new austerity program, letters offering voluntary severance packages have gone out to all non-business employees of the tribe, about 800 people, including many tribal members. The tribe says that when the voluntary severances are finished, by the end of this month, layoffs might follow.
This has infuriated some tribal members who believe that the cuts might be better aimed at tribal leaders who have become rich paying themselves king-sized salaries and bonuses. It's a fight, in this sense, over who gets what."
Get the Story:
David Collins: Cuts Bring An Outcry From Tribal Members
(The New London Day 5/11)