D.A. on recordagainst tribal plan

Sep 20, 2005 12:18 AM

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and lawmakers who represent Pueblo, District Attorney Bill Thiebaut last week expressed opposition to a proposed Indian casino near the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP), according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

Thiebaut believes the added burden the casino would bring to his office outweighs the financial benefits of the casino, unless a local gambling impact fund is established.

Supporters of the proposed casino hope Colorado’s elected representatives will support legislation designating a downtown site as a reservation and authorizing the casino complex there. The lawmakers on whom supporters of the project are pinning their hopes were among the recipients of Thiebaut’s letter.

Thiebaut states he expects increased crime would be a by-product of a casino, creating a greater volume of prosecutions, a burden on the courts and more crowding at the county jail.

The casino proposal would create a 5-acre federal reservation along HARP for a casino-hotel complex. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma have proposed to share a portion of the casino’s revenues with the city and county. Each governmental entity would get a 5 percent share of gross revenue under the proposal. The tribes also would give the community a $2 million venture capital fund.

Aside from the tribe’s monetary pledge, Thiebaut contends the casino would do little to bolster county coffers.