Tribe confident casino deal can be struck

Walker reaffirms criteria he’ll use to decide project’s fate

BY BILL GUIDA
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bguida@kenoshanews.com

Hours after meeting with other Wisconsin tribal leaders and Gov. Scott Walker, Menominee Nation Chairman Craig Corn said Wednesday night he is confident the Menominee tribe can craft an agreement on their proposed Kenosha casino project that Walker could approve.

“It was good. I think the governor laid out a path for the Menominee as to how we could get to ‘yes,’“ Corn told the Kenosha News.

Kenosha’s proposed casino at Dairyland Greyhound Park is a development partnership between the Menominee and the Seminole Nation of Florida and Hard Rock International.

Heubsch spokesperson Stephanie Marquis issued a statement saying Wednesday’s meeting was for “discussion between the tribes and the Menominee Nation.”

According to the statement, Walker “reaffirmed the three criteria that need to be met” for his approval before his 60-day deadline next Tuesday:

n No new net gaming would result.n It must have community support.n The 11 Wisconsin tribes must give unanimous consent.

‘Productive’ meeting

Corn described Wednesday’s sit-down with Walker, Secretary Mike Huebsch of the Department of Administration, and leaders of three tribes who have opposed the Menominee’s planned casino project as a productive meeting.

“Actually, we got to hear from the HoChunk nation, the Potawatomi and the Oneida,” Corn said. “They had some concerns about some potential revenue losses (regarding their own gaming operations).

“We’re confident we can put together some numbers about potential revenue losses and come up with something in some way, shape or form to address their concerns about potential revenue losses. I wouldn’t say shared revenue but some way to offset their potential losses,” he said.

Potawatomi ‘solution’

Only Wisconsin tribal leaders were present Wednesday with Walker and Huebsch, and no representatives from the Seminole or Hard Rock were on hand, according to Corn.

Without naming the tribe, Corn added one in particular “is pretty much dug in” against the proposed Kenosha casino. “We need to find a way to bridge that gap,” Corn said.

He acknowledged the Potatwatomi, who operate an off-reservation Milwaukee casino, appear dug in as well. But he said they are not the tribe to whom he was referring. He said he is confident “there’s a solution” the Menominee and Potawatomi can work out, apparently despite the Potawatomi pouring millions of dollars into an ongoing campaign opposing the Kenosha project.

Respond by Tuesday

“There were some things the goverenor expressed he wants to see from the Menominee, and I’ll hand deliver it to his office on Tuesday,” Corn said. “He just wants us to address the concerns from some of the dfferent tribal nations and get it back to him by next Tuesday.

Added Corn, “Just tell the people of Kenosha and southeast Wisconsin we’re trying to do everything we can to get this project through.”

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