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Sharp Charges Fly in Casino Battle (posted July 30, 2006)

The fur was flying in the first joint interview of Narragansett Indian Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas and Save Our State advocate Richard Oster. Appearing together on the WJAR-TV interview show "10 News Conference", the two traded sharp charges over the desirability of a proposed gambling casino in Rhode Island. Chief Thomas claimed it was "intellectual dishonest" for casino opponents to criticize the proposal for being "no bid" when other state gaming initiatives had been awarded without competitive bidding.

For his part, Oster called the proposal an "inferior deal" that "stinks". Complaining about the low tax yield for the state, he said "this is the worst deal I ever have seen in this state." Continuing, he characterized the casino proposal as "an inside backroom deal" that was arranged because it came from the hometown of House Speaker William Murphy. "You can hear the laughter coming from the boardrooms in Las Vegas," Oster argued and complained that Harrah's was making "fools" of people in Rhode Island. After Chief Thomas made the argument that the casino would provide constitutionally-guaranteed tax relief for state residents, Oster retorted that "this tax thing is a lot of BS."