Mashpee Wampanoag tribe no longer trusts feds

It was a minor story, tucked inside the Boston Globe’s metro section and hard to find on the newspaper’s website. Yet the report nevertheless was revealing.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is asking a federal judge to let it intervene in a case dealing with the federal government’s ability to take land in Taunton into trust for the tribe for a $1 billion casino. US District Court Judge William Young ruled in late July that the Interior Department’s somewhat novel approach to taking land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag ran afoul of the law, and now the question is whether the federal government will appeal.

In a 22-page filing, the tribe essentially said it was compelled to join the litigation at the appeal stage because it doesn’t trust the Interior Department’s to look out for its interests. “The department’s interest is in the administration of federal lands of the United States for the public interest broadly and the implementation of federal Indian policy, not in the particular sovereign, economic, and personal interest of the tribe,” the filing said.

That’s quite an about-face for the tribe. For close to a year, Mashpee Wampanoag officials have been confidently telling everyone that the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs was on firm legal ground with its decision allowing the Mashpee Wampanoag to take land in Taunton into trust. Tribal officials also said any challenge to the ruling would be unsuccessful because the Justice Department attorneys representing the federal government know what they are doing.

“No federal lawsuit will stop this project,” Arlinda Locklear, the tribe’s attorney, predicted in March. “The Justice Department is intimately familiar with it and is prepared to defend it.” She made an almost identical comment in September 2015.

It was largely based on these sorts of statements that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 4-1 in late April to reject a private casino operator’s proposal for Brockton and cede the market in southeastern Massachusetts to the tribe.

Increasingly, that’s looking like a bad decision. Young, the judge who ruled against the Interior Department, said his decision wasn’t a close call. With its filing to join the case, the tribe seems to be worried that the Interior Department may not even appeal the judge’s ruling.

Michelle Littlefield, the lead plaintiff among the Taunton homeowners, told the Cape Cod Times it appears the Interior Department intends to let the matter drop. Adam Bond, the attorney representing the Taunton homeowners, was a bit more circumspect. “I don’t know what’s going on in the background between the tribe and the government lawyers, but it appears not all is well,” he said.

BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Another day, another story about Sen. Brian Joyce of Milton. This time the senator is putting his house on the market at a price far in excess of the assessed value. Was he underpaying taxes in previous years? (Boston Globe)

Jim Wallace, director of the Gun Owners Action League, said Attorney General Maura Healey’s directive on assault weapons makes many gun owners “felons in waiting.” (Boston Herald)

State officials rejected sites in Peabody and Beverly for a Registry of Motor Vehicles branch, in part because the landlords were asking for rents of $400,000 to $500,000 a year. The RMV had been paying $40,000 a year in its previous location at the Liberty Tree Mall. (Gloucester Times)

The Baker administration awards $90 million for affordable housing projects. (Masslive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A pair of brothers in Natick, dressed all in black with white masks, are arrested for disorderly conduct. The teens said they dressed that way and lunged at a woman as part of a social experiment. (Masslive)

Pop-up drive-in movies are a big hit on Winter Island in Salem. (Salem News)

With the final remnants of a homeless encampment along with the surrounding trees removed, Brockton city councilors have lingering questions about the disassembling of the half-century-old Tent City and the use of city resources to remove squatters from private property. (The Enterprise)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was found guilty of perjury and other crimes in connection with the leak of secret grand jury documents to plant a story critical of her political nemesis. (Philly.com)

We know it’s been hot in Massachusetts, but NASA officials say it’s been hot everywhere, with July going down in the books as the hottest month in recorded history. (Associated Press)

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn, the former Springfield commissioner, has a complicated history. (Masslive)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted on nine counts of perjury, corruption, and conspiracy for leaking secret grand jury documents in an attempt to discredit a rival. (New York Times)

ELECTION

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposes “extreme vetting” for immigrants. (Time)

President Obama took a break from his vacation to attend a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard. (Cape Cod Times)

Curt Schilling said he would like to run for the US Senate seat held by Elizabeth Warren, but he said the final decision will be left to his wife. (Boston Herald)

Evan Falchuk of the United Independent Party says Secretary of State William Galvin is out of line. (CommonWealth)

A Quincy Republican running against US Rep. Stephen Lynch says it will take a “miracle” to unseat the eight-term congressman. Of course, it doesn’t help that William Burke hasn’t raised a dime for his campaign so far. (Patriot Ledger)

The ballot question on charter schools is dividing the state’s Democrats. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Roger Herzog and Bob Van Meter say transit equity has a housing component. (CommonWealth)

EDUCATION

Massachusetts ranks eighth nationally in spending on education. (Governing)

MetroWest Daily News compiles a list of teachers’ salaries around the state and finds that Concord-Carlisle is at the top with an average $100,731 pay, while at the other end, the tiny island of Gosnold, with just two full-time teachers, pays an average of $34,588. Statewide, the average pay is $74,700.

Six proposals for new charter schools are filed with the state. (Associated Press)

A report from the Disability Law Center finds neglect and abuse at a Middleborough school serving special needs students. (WBUR)

Massachusetts Education and Career Opportunities in Worcester receives a $7.3 million federal grant. (Masslive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The Springfield City Council votes 8-3 to reject a proposed deal with a medical marijuana facility, leaving no clear path forward for medical marijuana in Hampden County. (Masslive)

State officials are investigating a dialysis clinic in Methuen that inadvertently left a woman receiving treatment locked up inside when it closed on Saturday. The woman’s family came looking for her and called in firefighters who opened the clinic and rescued her. She was unharmed. (Eagle-Tribune)

A power outage over the weekend that knocked out air conditioning forced Charlton Hospital in Fall River to reroute ambulances to Steward-owned St.Anne’s Hospital, which further inflamed the battle between the two parent companies that is subject to two ongoing suits. (Herald News)

Marlborough reported its first case of Zika virus from a woman who had just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico. (MetroWest Daily News)

In a major blow to the Affordable Care Act, Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurers, announced it is withdrawing from exchanges in more than 500 counties because of a $430 million loss since January, 2014. (U.S. News & World Report)

TRANSPORTATION

Gloucester officials pulled the operating license of Lighthouse Taxi after discovering the company was not carrying insurance on its vehicles or workmen’s comp insurance on its employees. (Gloucester Times)

The Providence and Worcester Railroad is being purchased by a larger Connecticut-based rail firm in a $126 million deal. (Telegram & Gazette)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A report from the Conservation Law Foundation says New Bedford needs to take “aggressive” action to clean up pollution in the city’s low-income neighborhoods. (Standard-Times)

The offshore wind industry in New Bedford quietly reached a milestone over the weekend with the low-key arrival of a Dutch research ship that will do a survey in the waters of Martha’s Vineyard for a proposed wind farm. (Standard-Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The Supreme Judicial Court rules that there is no constitutional right to legal counsel before deciding whether to take a Breathalyzer test. (Berkshire Eagle)

In US jails, there is a growing constitutional clash over the lack of air conditioning. (New York Times)

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson examines the frightening case of Nga Truong, who was coerced by police officers into confessing the murder of her baby.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will force officers to wear body cameras if volunteers don’t step forward. (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

In a wide-ranging interview with Politico, Warren Buffett says he loves newspapers but cautions that they are going downhill. What surprises him is that even papers in small towns with access to few other local news options are in decline.

The Inside Track’s Gayle Fee reports that WEEI morning sports talker John Dennis, who is ostensibly on vacation, is not coming back because of friction with cohost Kirk Minihane. (Boston Herald)

Angry Justin Bieber fans force the pop prince off of Instagram, where he has about 77 million followers. (The Daily Beast)