Indian Gaming Today

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Settlements as "Shams"?

Thread: Current Events

Settlements as "shams"? Ohio's Attorney General has criticized the Eastern Shawnee Tribe's efforts to reach a settlement in the tribe's land claim lawsuit in federal court. The Ohio AG said that the tribe is trying to "pull a fast one" on Ohio and the federal court through "sham" settlements. According to the Lima News ("State of Ohio Wants Back in Casino Lawsuit,"), AG Jim Petro said, “What we don’t want to see occur is the court approve a settlement when the settlement is strictly being negotiated for the purpose of going around the whole idea of litigation to determine a tribal land claim.”

Hmmmm . . . isn't that the purpose of settling a case before trial? As for the "fast one," it's no secret that the Tribe is interested in pursuing a casino, should it be successful in obtaining land through the lawsuit. One of IGRA's exceptions to the general prohibition against gaming on newly acquired lands is that a tribe may conduct gaming on land acquired through a land claim settlement.

But even with a settlement of the Tribe's land claim, the land will still have to be taken into trust, and for casino-style or Class III gaming, the Tribe will still have to negotiate a tribal-state compact. And that assumes that Congress doesn't pull the plug on the land claim settlement exception in the meantime . . . . .

. . . . . because Congress sure is thinking about doing something (actually, a number of things) to curtail gaming on newly acquired lands. More on those developments soon.

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