Judicial Watch • Rich Indian Casino Gets $54 Mil In Stimulus Funds

Rich Indian Casino Gets $54 Mil In Stimulus Funds

Rich Indian Casino Gets $54 Mil In Stimulus Funds

JUNE 18, 2010

In the latest of many scandals involving President Obama’s stimulus, a famously corrupt U.S Senator helped a wealthy Indian tribe casino that employs his former aide get $54 million in federal funds meant to help struggling communities.

Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, an honorary two-time member of Judicial Watch’s Most Corrupt Politicians list, helped the politically-connected Mohegan Sun Casino—operated by the Mohegan Tribal Council—hit the jackpot even though it hardly needs to. Situated halfway between New York City and Boston, Mohegan is one of the nation’s highest grossing casinos and last year it earned a whopping $1.3 billion, according to the news report that broke the story this week.

A taxpayer-financed boost is hardly in order for the extravagant Connecticut casino that brags about having New England’s finest dining, hotel accommodations, retail shopping, live entertainment and sporting events. Three “world-class” casinos are spread over 300,000 square feet and the grounds include a lavish day spa, three major entertainment venues, 40 restaurants and a 10,000 square-foot indoor pool. It’s the last place you would imagine in need of a government handout.

But that didn’t stop Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, from helping the tribe secure the funds, which will come from a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural development program to help poor communities. The $54 million represents more than 1/3 of the money allocated by the USDA in the latest round of stimulus funding for its rural development program. Other members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation also assisted in securing the money for the tribe that employs Dodd’s former aide as Chief of Staff for External and Governmental Affairs.

Dodd, who has been embroiled in number of corruption scandals in the last few years, assures he supports the project because it will create and preserve local jobs. Economic recovery in Connecticut is all that matters to the veteran Democratic lawmaker, according to his communications director. The USDA claims the casino will use the money to help create “1,200 jobs” via a shovel-ready project in southeastern Connecticut.

This simply marks the latest in a growing list of examples that illustrate the waste, fraud and abuse in the $787 billion stimulus that the president promised would jump start the economy and put Americans back to work. So far tens of billions of dollars have been spent on wasteful projects, including $5 billion on a “weatherization” program to make low-income houses energy efficient, $3 million for turtle crossing in northern Florida and $10 million to renovate an abandoned train station that’s been shut for three decades. The list goes on.


 

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