The tribe has received federal grants through programs to help sovereign Indian tribes provide services for their members.
The Mashantucket Pequots, a tribe of roughly 900 people whose Foxwoods casino opened in 1992, once enjoyed annual stipends exceeding $100,000 for each adult member. But the tribe racked up huge debts as the casino struggled with increased gaming competition and Foxwoods completed a costly expansion with the MGM Grand hotel and casino at the height of the recession in 2008.
Michael Thomas, who had been chairman since 2003, was forced out by the council in 2009 after pledging to put distributions to tribal members ahead of the tribe's debt even as the tribe was looking to restructure more than $2 billion in debt.
The tribe defaulted on its debt in 2010. It eliminated the revenue-sharing payments last year and succeeded in striking a deal to restructure its debt.
Steven Thomas was elected to the tribal council in November.