Column: Mashantucket Tribe deserves new leader
"When Michael Thomas was first elected to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, in 1994, he was still on probation for drug-dealing charges in Rhode Island, where he served six months of an 18-month prison sentence before being paroled.

He was just 19 years old when he was stopped at 3 a.m., driving an unregistered car without a license. Police found a package under the front seat containing 13 packages of cocaine, ranging in size from one to 3-1/2 grams.

Thomas' probation would have disqualified him at the time from voting or running for office in Connecticut. His criminal record would also probably have precluded him from any kind of a management role in any other major gambling jurisdiction.

But because the Pequots' compact with the state shields everyone in tribal government from any licensing requirements, Thomas was able to be seated on the Tribal Council, a convicted drug dealer overseeing one of the country's largest casinos.

Thomas' subsequent rise to chairman of the Tribal Council has indeed no doubt been inspiring to many within the tribe, including the members of his own family who have supported him.

But it seems to me that Thomas has run out of steam with his storyline of a bad boy who grew up and turned his life around. In fact, his irresponsible behavior as of late, eluding creditors pursuing him for an alleged $5 million loan default, and playing cat-and-mouse court games with an ex- girlfriend who is the mother of one of his children, is an embarrassment to the tribe."

Get the Story:
David Collins: Chairman Owes Tribe What He Got: A Fresh Start (The New London Day 6/15)

Related Stories:
Mashantucket chairman fights arrest warrant (6/12)
Arrest warrant issued for Mashantucket chairman (6/11)

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