Two individuals now face charges stemming from a bribery scheme connected to a casino development in Taunton. Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe Cedric Cromwell, and architect firm owner David DeQuattro, have been arrested for paying or accepting bribes. Cromwell faces additional charges of extortion.
Details of the Charges
On Friday, the Head of the FBI office in Boston, Joseph Bonavolonta, announced the charges against the two men. Cromwell is accused of using his role as chairman to extort bribes from DeQuattro. Tens of thousands in bribes were reportedly received.
Bonavolonta said that the allegations against both men undercut the efforts of tribe members and betrayed the trust individuals had in the two men. DeQuattro owns an architecture and design company that provided the payments and benefits valued at close to $60,000 from 2014-2017. In exchange, Cromwell helped the company secure almost $5 million in contracts with the gaming authority of the tribe.
Cromwell is said to have spent the money on personal needs, including paying his mistress. US Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, said that Cromwell’s priority was not to serve the people but to ‘line his own pockets.’
Long-Running Legal Problems
Cromwell is no stranger to legal issues and along with these recent charges, he almost lost his position as chairman a few months ago. A vote took place back in August to remove Cromwell from his position after a second subpoena was issued against the tribe for records involving a secretive grand jury investigation to review records involving the 2013 and 2017 council elections.
The subpoena also requested information on the policies and rules surrounding campaign contributions and expenditures, plus copies of contracts signed with Robinson Green Beretta Corporation back in 2011. Federal prosecutors were seemingly collecting evidence leading up to the most recent charges that Cromwell and DeQuattro now face.
The first subpoena was issued against the tribe two months earlier to review financial records tied to the construction of the First Light Resort and Casino.