July 27, 2012 Page 51
Legal Hurdle to Stop Shinnecock-Run Casino Thrown Out By robert sforza
he drama continues in the Shinnecock Nation’s wrangling over where or when the tribe will finally have their long-awaited casino. Late last month, in a 2-1 decision, a federal appeals court indicated that a 2008 federal court decision that prohibited the Shinnecock Indian Nation from building a casino on their Hampton Bays property should have been settled in state courts—not federal—as they struck down the ruling. This case between the State of New York and the Town of Southampton against the Shinnecock’s potential casino was decided by the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. The court’s much anticipated decision voids a 2008 permanent injunction granted to the town and state preventing the Shinnecock Nation from building their casino on their Westwoods property in Hampton Bays, near the Shinnecock Canal. However, the court’s decision did not garner much of a negative response. Although the tribe is anxiously waiting to build its casino, the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last week is not an impediment in the Shinnecocks’ quest for a future home for their casino. “The court’s ruling is more of a relief than anything,” says Beverly Jensen, the director of communications for the Shinnecock Tribe, referring to last month’s judgment. “I do not think this decision affects the trustees’ plans for a Shinnecock casino one day.”
The Shinnecock Indian Nation has made it opportunities for expansion. The Mashantucket clear in the past for several years now that they Pequot Tribe in Connecticut started small do not wish to build a casino on their reservation before building Foxwoods; they started with a for several reasons. The main reason being the petite bingo hall. Town of Southampton’s opposition to it and the “A small bingo hall may be something the increased traffic that would ensue in addition to trustees consider doing on the reservation its already overcrowded summer roads. here,” says Jensen. “Though their main “The tribe does not want to go against the objective right now is sitting and talking with wishes of the community and build a casino the governor.” at Westwoods (in Hampton Bays)” said Jensen “We again ask Governor Cuomo to sit down in a phone interview. with the Nation to “The trustees would discuss how the Nation much rather prefer to The tribe does not want to go against and the State can move find a location further forward together. Our the wishes of the community. west on the island to ancestors and tribal build their casino–for They ask Governor Cuomo to sit leaders, both living several reasons.” and those who have down with the Nation. The nation’s chief gone before us, always reason, similar have maintained our to the Town of Southampton’s rationale, is tribal lands for the benefit of all tribe members,” accessibility. the trustees released in a statement after the The tribe is well aware of Foxwoods’ current court’s decision, according to Jensen. fiscal situation, and much of Mashantucket The tribe’s primary objectives are to build Pequot Tribal Nation, owners of Foxwoods, up their infrastructure, provide better housing credit their decline in visitors to its secluded for their elders, and offer better education for location. However, the local Indian tribe is their children. A small bingo hall, though it is looking to duplicate much of Foxwoods earlier not a casino, can help provide for the tribe’s success, such as increased population, revenue needs. Granted, a bingo hall is not the financial and education. juggernaut a casino can be, it is not the liability However, the new ruling does not mean the it is either. Shinnecock Nation will not pursue other outlets In the meantime, the tribe awaits the call of on their reservation. Governor Cuomo to further its casino talks, but The Shinnecocks are now a federally a small bingo hall could benefit both the tribe recognized tribe, which means they have more and the community. HDS_Reg_Dans.4C_2012.pdf
Escape (Continued from page 47) But Montauk residents are calling Jones out on his assertion that he has “relinquished his operational role” at Sole East. “What’s with Jones, owner, having ‘no operational’ control?” Asked Mary Anzalone, a Montauk resident and bartender at Liar’s Saloon. “Why did he think a three-day height-ofthe-season concert was a good idea last year?” Samantha Romanowski, a partner at Kailani, said, “I live in that neighborhood—where are the cars going to park?” Residents of East Lake Drive might have some answers. After a fourth of July party at Rick’s Crabby Cowboy got out of control, the event was shut down—but not before thousands of people flooded the property. The traffic situation was so gnarly that an injured person reportedly had to be transported via police car to an ambulance waiting at the end of the road. Bethany Borrero, a clerk at the East Hampton Town Fire Marshal’s office, offered that “no one in here knows anything about it,” when asked about Escape to Montauk on Monday— implying that no mass gathering permits have been applied for. According to Johnson Nordlinger, Executive Assistant to the Town Supervisor, such an event “doesn’t necessarily need the town board’s approval.” Statements like these are likely to ruffle the feathers of Montauk residents. As Anzalone quipped, sooner than later, “we’ll be needing an escape FROM Montauk.” C
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Published on Jul 27, 2012