Proposal for Lansing Casino Tied Up in Federal Court - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Proposal for Lansing Casino Tied Up in Federal Court


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) - The fate of the Lansing casino is tied up in federal court after a meeting in Grand Rapids Wednesay.

In September, the Michigan Attorney General's office filed a lawusit against the tribe backing the 125,000 square foot Kewadin Casino.

The Sault St. Mare tribe of Chippewa Indian's attorney argued that the state's lawsuit is pre-mature and has no merit because the tribe still has to apply with the U.S. Department of Interior to take the land in Lansing into trust so it could be eligible for gaming.

This is why the state filed an injuction. They know the tribe plans to apply and they want to stop that from happening. The basis of their lawusit is that the tribe is violating federal law and part of the 1993 gaming compact the tribe signed with the state.

"It's very clear in the compact all tribes are prohibited from doing off reservation casinos unless all the states tribes agree and clearly a lot of the tribes oppose this Lansing casino," said Spokesperson James Nye, with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Nottawaseppi Hron Band of Potawatomi.

"I believe that was a poison pill that was put in by the state to prevent new casinos, but there is no way to statutorily require us to enter agreements with other tribes,"
said Aaron Payment, the chairmen of the Sault. St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Two different interuptutions of the compact leave the sides divided, but the tribe says under a specific provison of the 1997 Federal Land Claims Settlement Act, they have legal right.

"There's a specific path that allows us to do what we plan to do. So we don't believe that Section 9 applies at all. So again, I think it's another hail mary pass that the state is using," said Payment.

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