The Mashpee Tribe Secures an Option to Buy More land in Middleborough

On August 15th, 2007, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe secured a chance to buy an additional 205 acres of land in Middleborough, enlarging its land holding for casino resort to 531 acres.

Mashpee Tribal leaders expect to start construction of the $1 billion casino, hotel and resort establishment on 100 acres of land and leave the remaining land as a divider.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe spokesperson Scott Ferson would not divulge the price for the latest deal. Ferson said that this will be the last deal for the Mashpee Tribe. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and their financial supporters own 125 acres of land bought from Middleborough in April.

The Mashpee Tribe was able to secure 125 acres of land from the family of Daniel Striar. The land in the latest acquisition of the tribe is located on Precinct Street and is owned by Bruce Gates, a lieutenant from the police force and his two sisters.

Gates is criticized by casino opponents because he led security during the town meeting on July 28th, 2007 that allowed the casino in Middleborough. Some of the residents filed lawsuits against Gates because of conflict of interest.

Town officials said that Gates benefits from the casino financially but saw no problem with his security duties during the meeting. The land will be recorded at the Plymouth County Registry Deeds and no action will be taken for a year as the Mashpee Tribe talk with the state and federal officials regarding the casino.

The tribe wants to place the land under federal trust and it could take 18 months before the U.S. Department of Interior approves of it.