Without Reservation: How a Controversial Indian Tribe Rose to Power and Built the World's Largest Casino


With compelling detail, Without Reservation tells the stunning story of the rise of the richest Indian tribe in history.

In 1973, an old American Indian woman dies with nothing left of her tribe but a 214-acre tract of abandoned forest. It seems to be the end of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. But it is just the beginning. Over the next three decades, the reservation grows to nearly 2,000 acres, home to more than 600 people claiming to be tribal members.  It has also become ...

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With compelling detail, Without Reservation tells the stunning story of the rise of the richest Indian tribe in history.

In 1973, an old American Indian woman dies with nothing left of her tribe but a 214-acre tract of abandoned forest. It seems to be the end of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. But it is just the beginning. Over the next three decades, the reservation grows to nearly 2,000 acres, home to more than 600 people claiming to be tribal members.  It has also become home to Foxwoods, the largest casino in the world, grossing more than $1 billion a year.

Without Reservation reveals the mysterious roots of today's Pequot tribe, the racial tension that divides its members, and the Machiavellian internal power struggle over who will control the tribe's funds. Author Jeff Benedict brings to us the deal makers, the courtroom machinations, the trusts and betrayals.

Now, with remarkable new information, the paperback brings us up-to-date on these revelations, which lead to state and federal investigations and calls for congressional hearings.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For thousands of years the Mashantucket Pequot lived in southeastern Connecticut between the Thames and the Pawcatuck rivers. Then in 1636, their fortunes began to plummet. The anti-Pequot war that began that year was only one of the causes of the nation's eventual near-extinction: Poverty, disaster, and real estate plunder forced the tribe to recede into a remote 214-acre vestige of a reservation. In the 1970s, just as the Mashantucket Pequot seemed to be dissolving into irrecoverable history, their fortunes changed as quickly as the spin of a roulette wheel. Without Reservation chronicles how a dwindling group of Indians became the proprietors of Foxwoods, the world's largest gambling arena.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060931964
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: 1ST PERENN
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 605,030
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Benedict conducted the first national study on sexual assault and athletes. He has published three books on athletes and crime, including a blistering exposé on the NFL, Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, and Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women. He is a lawyer and an investigative journalist who has written five books.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Oaths and Vows

Town Hall
June 13, 1969
Groton, Connecticut

"The first thing you need to do is fill out this worksheet," Said town clerk Sally Sawyer, handing a blank form across the counter "After completing it, you give it back to me and I'll type up your marriage license."

Twenty-one-year-old Richard "Skip" Hayward coolly wrote his biographical information under the column labeled "Groom." Looking over his arm, seventeen-year-old fiancee Aline Champoux twirled one of her pigtails. Her long strands of brunette hair dangled over the front of her shoulders and sprawled over her chest. Her thin, nicely shaped legs beneath her miniskirt showed off her early summer tan, her sleeveless halter top drawing attention to her youthful, 108-pound figure.

"You are Aline's mother?" Sawyer asked, turning to fifty-year-old Betty Charnpoux, who stood behind Aline wearing a conservative redand-white-checked summer blouse.

"Yes," said Mrs. Champoux, her mind preoccupied. Days earlier her husband, Leo, a lifelong smoker, had been admitted to a Veterans Hospital in Rhode Island where he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His life expectancy was less than one year.

"When they're finished filling out their portion of the form," Sawyer continued, struggling to make eye contact with Betty, "you'll need to sign the back, granting your permission for your daughter to marry as a minor."

Betty affirmatively nodded her head in silence. Both she and Leo had complained to Aline that she was too young and Hayward too financially undisciplined for marriage. But the onset of terminal cancer had sapped any strength theypossessed to fight Aline over her choice for a husband. Nor would it have done any good. She had fallen hard for Hayward the moment she met him, while on a blind date during her sophomore year.

It was early in 1967 when Champoux, then fifteen, told her parents that she and her best friend, Debbie Sherwood, were going to the Friday night basketball game at their high school in Coventry Rhode Island. Instead, they sneaked off to Ledyard, Connecticut, nearly a forty-fiveminute drive away, to meet Sher-wood's boyfriend, Fran Pyle. When they arrived at Fran's house, he introduced Sherwood and Champoux to his best friend, Skip Hayward, a strapping, six-foot two-inch nineteen-yearold with broad shoulders. Aline immediately noticed his brown eyes and wavy black hair that hung over the collar of his button-down red shirt with yellow polka dots. His blue jeans were held up by a black leather belt, the buckle situated off to the side of his thin waist. Aline thought he looked like Jim Morrison,

When Pyle and Hayward invited the girls dancing, they eagerly accepted. By the end of the night, Champoux had agreed to be Hayward's girlfriend. For a young Champoux, he had the qualities she responded to. He was a great dancer. He loved rock and roll, although his favorite singer was Johnny Cash. He owned a Honda motorcycle and his own horse.

"Here, Aline," Hayward said, handing her the worksheet. "You need to complete your half"

Smirking, Champoux filled in the column under the word "Bride" and handed it back to Sawyer, who reviewed it for completeness.

Groom's Name: Richard Arthur Hayward. Date of Birth: 11-28-47.

Age: 21.

Race: White. Occupation: Pipefitter.

Birthplace: New London, Conn.

Residence: North Stonington, Conn.

"Everything looks good there," Sawyer said, reading on.

Bride's Name: Aline Aurore Champoux.

Date of Birth: 11-22-51.

Age: 17. Race: White.

"Oh, Ms. Champoux, you forgot to fill in line 14," Sawyer said, pointing to the heading "occupation."

"I don't work yet," she said sheepishly. "I just graduated from high school yesterday."

"Oh, well, I'll just put 'student' there," Sawyer said. "Now if you'll wait just a minute, I'll be back with your license."

Hayward reached for Champoux's right hand, smiling confidently as he clenched it tightly while waiting for Sawyer to return. Resting her head against his arm, Aline stared down at the engagement ring on her other hand. Hayward had never formally asked her to marry him. Instead, one day he took her on the back of his motorcycle to Zales, a department store that sold jewelry and paid $100 for a tiny diamond. It was all that he could afford on his meager salary as an apprentice at the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics. He had not attended college and had no career plans. To cut down on wedding costs, Aline sewed her own dress by hand. No wedding announcements were ordered. Instead of a reception, they planned a breakfast with their immediate family.

"Look over the license and make sure that everything is correct as typed," Sawyer said, handing it to Hayward.

Saying nothing, he scanned it, then gave it back.

"Everything is correct?" Sawyer asked.

Hayward nodded.

"OK. Each of you raise your right hand," Sawyer instructed.

Tentative, Aline looked up at Skip, whose eyes were focused on Sawyer's. Wide-eyed, Aline faintly raised her hand, her fingertips barely reaching Skip's shoulder.

"Do you both solemnly swear that the information contained in this license is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?"

"Yes," Skip said, his raspy voice drowning out Aline's soft whisper.

"Now, you both need to sign the license right here," said Sawyer, pointing to blank lines beneath their typed names.

Betty looked on in stone silence as Aline signed her name below Skip's. She was too numb to cry. She was losing her husband to a disease with no cure and her teenage daughter to a man with seemingly no future.

Sawyer signed the license and stamped it with the town seal. Folding it, she placed it into a white self-addressed envelope and handed it to Skip. "You give this to the person who is going to be performing the ceremony And it is that person's responsibility to return the license to us after the wedding."

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Table of Contents

1 Oaths and Vows 1
2 Quicksilver 14
3 Wall Street Can Wait 20
4 The Iron Lady 30
5 Safe Secrets 41
6 Fierce Advocates 53
7 Joining the Club 60
8 Adverse Possession 69
9 The Firm 79
10 Fractured Diamond 88
11 State Aid 92
12 The Promise 96
13 The Second Mrs. Hayward 106
14 Beneath the Radar Screen 109
15 The Mapmakers 117
16 A Small Price to Pay 123
17 Ronald Reagan Blinks 137
18 Commencement 150
19 Wills, Estates, and Trusts 157
20 Out to Lunch 166
21 Incorporated 176
22 Las Vegas Nights 185
23 Jersey Born 189
24 A Prosecutor and a Prophet 200
25 Secured Transaction 211
26 I Wouldn't Take My Dog to Atlantic City 221
27 Wheel of Fortune 226
28 New Identity 230
29 Ace in the Hole 236
30 The Skip and Mickey Show 243
31 Mr. Lozier Goes to Washington 249
32 Cowboys and Indians 263
33 The Pledge of Allegiance 268
34 The Master Plan 274
35 Damn Yankees 283
36 Race Matters 292
37 Discovery 298
38 Big Boys Don't Cry 306
39 Someone Broke into Your Offices 314
40 The Showstopper 324
41 Swimming with Sharks 328
42 You Can't Take It with You 340
43 I'm Chairman Now 343
44 Dodging the Bullet 350
Maps 363
Acknowledgments 365
Bibliography 367
Source Notes 382
Index 387
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2004


    This wonderfully researched book conveys the incredible details of how a group of individuals, who had never regarded themselves as Native Americans until it was financially expedient, manipulated the system and influenced the Dept. of Interior to grant them Federal Recognition which opened the way to establishing the country's largest casino. It is an invaluable book for those towns and states which are battling casino expansion and the systemic problems with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribes establishing casinos, with the assitance of powerful backers, operate outside of the realm of US and state law. Also, while your taxes are rising and services are being cut, these casinos pay zero into the federal and state tax rolls. A MUST READ !!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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