Caesars closer to N.Y. tribal casino

Oct 12, 2004 6:08 AM

A New York state settlement offer to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council to resolve the Indians land claim could help improve the chances that the proposed Indian casino to be located in the Catskill and be managed by Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) could once again be addressed.

The proposal for a $500 million casino in Sullivan County has been dormant in recent months. However, that could change now that the two sides have agreed to settle the land claim issue.

Included in the land claim were miles of real estate that involved the communities of Massena and Fort Covington as well as a meadow adjacent to the Grasse River. Also involved were claims against the St. Lawrence Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project area.

For their part, the Indians would be granted ownership of thousands of acres of land that could be developed for whatever purpose the tribe would desire; they would receive about $100 million; tribal members would be allowed to attend any state university tuition-free, and they would received power from the New York Power Authority at the lowest possible price.

In announcing the proposed settlement, tribal leaders said they planned to mail detailed reports to the 15,000 community members and would set a referendum tentatively for Nov. 27.

Among the tribes involved are the St. Regis Mohawk, the Akwesasne on the Canadian side of the border, and the Mohawk Nation.

The deal also would need the approval of the New York State Legislature as well as the U.S. Congress.