NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I'd like to call the Commission back to order for the public comment portion of our meeting. We have a long list of speakers, with a lot of very important information that they'd like to share with the Commission.
In the interests of maintaining fairness to the speakers, I'd like to ask Commissioners, again, to refrain from asking questions or offering observations either during or between the speaker's presentation. That's awfully difficult for us to do, but in order to get through the list of speakers, we are on a receive mode.
And I just want to make sure the audience understands that. If we don't jump in, it's not because we don't have an opinion or because we agree or disagree, it's because during the public comment period we exercise that kind of restraint in order to provide as much public comment as we can possibly get.
I would say to the Commissioners here at the table that the testimony of our speakers is being gathered for us and kept at the back of the room, so they won't come up each time and give it to us, unless you'd like to have it in front of you. And they have it for you in the back and it will be mailed to you.
Let's see, any other points. I would ask our speakers to keep an eye on our timer, who is over here. And with that I think we will begin. We are ready for our first speaker.
I'd like to say to all our speakers who are here tonight, your observations and your concerns and your insights are a critical part of our investigation and we look forward to hearing your Testimony.
Mr. Leon Johnson?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, ma'am.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Go right ahead.
MR. JOHNSON: Good evening panel members, my name is Leon Johnson. I'm a former employee of the Foxwoods Casino. Foxwoods was the best thing that ever happened to me, a middle aged man, late thirties, with no college degree. I was given an opportunity to work for an astonishing Indian casino. They gave me my first chance to work on a slot machine, with no prior experience.
My life, my dreams came to an abrupt end. I was accused of an infraction and I lost my job. I thought I would get my job back when they completed their investigation; well, I was terminated. I attended the board of review hearing as requested, with the presence of my attorney, my attorney was instructed to wait out in the lobby until the hearing was done, henceforth, I was not represented, due process was taken away from me.
Panel members, do we live in America where we have a Constitution, human rights, decency, respect, righteousness, innocent until proven guilty? Foxwoods workers don't have any of that, all of my rights were taken away from me. Every American is given the 14th Amendment.
The executive director of the tribal gaming commission who oversees the standards of all slot operations, informed upper management that it is impossible for a slot tech to do what I was terminated for. My case in tribal court raised a red flag, the tribal court stated in a decision that review board policies are not a fair process and do not meet minimum of the Indian Civil Rights Act.
I came here today because I do not want this to happen to anybody else. Every American has the right to be represented by an attorney. Foxwoods took my rights from me as an American citizen. It has been three long financial years since they fired me. I had to start from the beginning. I did not do anything wrong.
Everybody is entitled to due process in America, that is what America's Constitution is all about. This decision will set a precedent for all casino workers, which is long overdue.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.