Now that their written proposal is in Gov. Scott Walker’s hands, Menominee Tribe officials said they are hopeful the governor will approve the tribe’s plans for a Hard Rock Casino in Kenosha.
The governor’s 60-day timeline for the Menominee to meet his criteria for a new casino ended Tuesday. The criteria: no net increase in gaming in the state, approval of the community and support from Wisconsin’s 11 tribes.
Tribal officials will meet with Walker today to discuss the document.
“A great deal of activity has continued over the last week” tribal Chairman Craig Corn said in a news release. “We appreciate the governor’s leadership and the opportunity we will have to share our thoughts and show him that we have met his criteria for approval of the proposed Kenosha casino.”
The sticking point is opposition from the Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi. Both tribes have said the Kenosha casino would harm their businesses in Wisconsin Dells and Milwaukee.
“Many times I have reached out to the Ho-Chunk and Forest County Potawatomi asking them to join us in dialogue,” Corn said in a statement. “It’s what the governor asked for, and we agree it’s the right thing to do.”
The Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk have contributed more than $42,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee in the past two years, with the tribes giving the committee $35,000 days after the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the Menominee casino project.
State Sen. Bob Wirch said the donations should not influence Walker, who is a Republican.
“It’s shameful that instead of arguing against the merits of the Kenosha casino, the opponents are trying to influence the decision with contributions to outside campaign groups,” Wirch said in a statement.
“We are talking about 5,000 jobs and a $35 million boost in state revenue from the project, and it’s unfortunate that they are attempting to use money to corrupt the process,” Wirch said.
Walker’s office said the governor will make a decision by the end of the week.
“The Menominee are confident that the benefits of a Kenosha casino to the state are too good to turn down,” Corn said. “The Kenosha casino will help our tribe, and its more than 8,800 members will realize much-needed revenue to raise our standard of living. It will not harm any other tribe in the state.”