Tribe asks federal court to dismiss "meritless" state lawsuit to block Lansing casino

Nov 13, 2012

The Upper Peninsula Native American Tribe says a lawsuit trying to prevent it from building a casino in Lansing is “utterly without merit”.

Michigan’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit in September challenging the right of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to build a casino in downtown Lansing.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the casino project would violate federal law, as well as a gaming compact with the state.

But in its response to the state’s lawsuit this week, the tribe describes the state’s case as “meritless”.

The tribe is asking a federal judge to dismiss the state’s lawsuit so it can move forward with plans to have the federal government take the land into trust.   Taking the land into trust will allow the tribe to take the next step toward building the casino next to Lansing’s convention center.

The tribe recently finalized a deal with the city of Lansing and private developers to purchase the land for the proposed $245 million casino.