Tribal Referendum on Lansing Casino Moves Forward

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Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will be voting on whether to proceed with plans to build a casino in Lansing. According to a press statement from the tribe, a special meeting was held Tuesday, and at that meeting "the tribal board approved the sending of the referendum to tribal members for a vote, pending a review and concurrence by the board Secretary."

The process was set in motion when a referendum petition was signed by 170 members of the tribe.

According to the statement, the referendum could put a stop to the tribes plans to build a casino in downtown Lansing. "This is an extremely significant vote that could go out to our people," said Tribal Chairman Joe Eitrem, who supports the casino project. "It could be devastating to the tribe if members vote against it. This casino project is unique - it allows us to establish a cash flow to our tribe with insignificant risk on our end, developers who are fronting the costs of the project, and a very willing partner in the City of Lansing."

Eitrem adds that 68% of tribal members who attended informational meetings on the Lansing casino project said they supported it.

If members vote to overturn Resolution 2012-11, the Board's approval of the development agreement with the City of Lansing and the developers will be invalidated.

If members vote yes on the ballot - to approve Resolution 2012-11 - the Board's approval of the project will remain in effect.

The exact language of the referendum and time of the vote has not been determined.

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