Bill Schuette Sues Sault Tribe Over Lansing Casino

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Supporters of the proposed Downtown Lansing casino are facing a major legal battle.

"Seven tribes in the state of Michigan signed compacts with the state back in 1993 and those compacts govern how many tribal casinos we have and where they can be located," said Joy Yearout, spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to buy land off reservation and take it into trust. Schuette sued saying it has not entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with other Michigan tribes, which he says is required under the state compact.

"The attorney general has certain beliefs and he's entitled to his beliefs. Our city attorney and the tribe believe otherwise," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Mayor Bernero and the City of Lansing are not defendants in the lawsuit. However, as a major player in the casino project, the mayor says the legal challenges are expected and they're ready to fight back.

"We just believe we've got to press on, we believe the benefits far outweigh the risk."

The mayor is talking about his promise of jobs and scholarships that come with the casino, while Yearout says they've been against the proposal all along.

"If casinos were the path to prosperity in Michigan, we would be doing a lot better than we are right now. Expanding unregulated off-reservation gaming is not the answer," Yearout said.


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