Lansing Must Go Over Hurdle To Cash In On Casino - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Lansing Must Go Over Hurdle To Cash In On Casino

It's something Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says is an investment that the capitol city deserves and one worth fighting for.

However Tuesday, a federal judge ruled against the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa tribe causing a roadblock in the legal process.

The city of Lansing will have to wait a little bit longer to play it's hand with a Lansing casino.

"We've always said we are looking at a two year horizon on getting all the legal battles," said Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribe Chairman Aaron Payment.

Chairman Aaron Payment remains optimistic even after judge Robert Jonker sided with the state and attorney general's office to temporarily stop the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribe from bringing a casino to Lansing.

Judge Jonker says they can't move forward because they haven't received written agreement from the other Indian tribes across Michigan.

"There have been other tribes that have opened secondary casinos since the 93 compacts were signed and they didn't have to seek our permission and it's their sovereign right to do what their doing and I don't believe we have a legal obligation or even a moral obligation," Chairman Payment said.

But James Nye, who represents two other casinos, including MGM Grand and Greektown disagrees.

Nye released this statement,

"Judge Jonker's order confirms what we have said all along; the tribal-state gaming compacts were intended to stop tribes from reservation shopping for casinos in the homelands of other tribes."

But with over 1500 tribe members in the mid-Michigan area and the promise of jobs and scholarships, Chairman Payment and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero say this is far from over and by no means are they folding.

"We opened our first casino in 85' and we had to fight and file a lawsuit to get our compact and we got a consent agree in 93' and we won," Chairman Payment said.

"They're prepared for this, they're lawyering up for it, I believe we have a great legal position, I believe we have a great legal team, I believe we will get over this and we will be successful," Mayor Bernero said.

The Chippewa Tribe attorney John Wernet expects to meet with their litigation council in the next couple of days.

It's a bump in the road, but one both the mayor and tribe say they are ready to overcome.

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