NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. SINCLAIR: Yes. My name is Fred Sinclair. I was for five years employed at Foxwoods Resort Casino, a wholly-owned, unincorporated, irresponsible and virtually unregulated instrumentality of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Ironically, I'm here in the great city of Boston to speak about taxation without representation and the effects of abuse of power.
You see, I found out the hard way the ramifications of working for an employer who is not held to the fair labor standards and lawful criteria of the United States of American and the State of Connecticut. Even though I paid both state and federal income taxes during the five years I worked at Foxwoods, I lost the right to use the system supported by those taxes in any practical sense.
I know the Pequots boast that their court system is more efficient than our system of justice but this is no more than a farce. There is absolutely no fair mediator or resolution for the residents of Connecticut in the boundaries of Pequot nation and Foxwoods, one of the state's largest employers.
I must point out that Pequots do not oversee the daily operations at Foxwoods, they've hired a group of upper management who are protected by a contract. And they have the power to protect people they've personally hired. This creates and enables an abuse of power situation that is out of control, considering it hides behind the sovereign cloak of the tribe. They actually have a department that is falsely named employee relations, which only another branch of the same management, set up to protect their own best interests.
There are very few members of this upper management, if any at all, who are long term residents of the State of Connecticut, and yet they advertise they are here for Connecticut and Connecticut's people. The honest truth is, only a few people really profit from Foxwoods' existence, it is not the customers, gamblers who are effected by a devastating addictive illness and it's not the Connecticut residents who make up the majority of employees who have built Foxwoods into a billion dollar venture and yet are not represented as a majority.
Just like the illegal pyramid scam, only a few entities at the top rake in the profits while people at the bottom can lose everything. These entities are the Pequot Tribe, the contracted members of upper management and those closely related, and unfortunately, our own governments, who have sold out our rights for major payoffs such as a slot revenue contract and questionable donations to all major political parties.
If you'd like to argue that the slot revenue trickles down to my level and improves my standard of living, don't bother, my rights are not for sale at any price. And I know that the short term gain will be offset by the long term devastating ripple effect placed upon the economy when gamblers lose their savings, their homes and lives, because of an addiction.
I'm not here trying to destroy Foxwoods, I am part Cherokee and I support the dream of the Pequots and their success. I was at the original employer rally in 1992 and actually believed that they cared about their employees. I put my heart, soul and thousands of uncompensated hours into Foxwoods, even though my part may be considered small, I helped the Pequots achieve their dream, only to be severely injured, harassed, stripped of my position, my rights, my job and my health benefits, by the abusive upper management they are responsible for.
I'm here to remind you that the principle of equality of rights, opportunity and treatment is important to everyone.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.
Mr. Brad Hill? Scott Sternburg?
Can I ask that the next seven speakers, and you should have the list in front of you, go ahead and move over, so we can get a sense of who is here and who is not? Thank you.