Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes say they “want to be part of the discussion” if the General Assembly wants to expand gambling further, especially to Bridgeport. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal leaders sent a letter Wednesday to legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asking to be included in any potential talks. The letter comes a day after MGM Resorts International’s top executive Jim Murren spoke to a Bridgeport business group, touting the company’s proposal for a $675 million resort casino in Bridgeport. He contends the revenue-sharing agreement Connecticut signed more than two decades ago with the tribes, granting them exclusive rights to casino gambling, “should be revisited.”
STATE BUDGET UPDATE
Connecticut legislative leaders say they want to find a way to permanently fix a popular program they cut in the new state budget that helps cover the cost of Medicare-related expenses for tens of thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities. Democratic Senate President Martin Looney says Wednesday’s announcement by the Connecticut Department of Social Services that it will temporarily delay plans to reduce eligibility for the program provides lawmakers with more time to find the necessary funding. Both lawmakers and DSS have received complaints from seniors and families about the eligibility cutbacks, which were part of the new bipartisan state budget lawmakers negotiated.
State education officials say a plan to consolidate Connecticut’s 12 community colleges would mean the loss of almost 200 jobs and save about $28 million. Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and University system, says a merger would not result in the loss of faculty positions or any positions that deal directly with students. The cuts would come in areas that do not affect students directly, including administrative services, human resources, and information technology. The system’s chief financial officer says without taking steps, tuition would double and the system would drain its reserves over five years.
A Connecticut developer has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for defrauding taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a failed effort to build a professional soccer stadium in Hartford. James Duckett Jr. was sentenced Wednesday on 12 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. He was found guilty in July. Duckett and another developer had been hired by Hartford to oversee development of a $12 million, 9,000-seat stadium. But prosecutors allege Duckett and his partner never paid subcontractors and directed more than $1 million from the city to support a lavish lifestyle for Duckett and expenses unrelated to the stadium project. The Major Arena Soccer League dropped the team before a game was ever played.