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Michigan's Attorney General files suit to block proposed Lansing casino

Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Michigan’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit to block plans for a casino in Lansing.

The Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced plans in January to build a $245 million casino next to Lansing’s convention center.

Attorney General Bill Schuette claims the casino project violates federal law and a gaming compact with the state.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says he was not surprised that Attorney General Bill Schuette has followed through with his threat to sue.     Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder had both voiced strong opposition to the casino project when it was announced.   Other tribes that operate casinos in Michigan have also threatened legal challenges.

Bernero remains undeterred.   

“We’re going to forge right ahead. We’ll let the court do its job,” says Bernero,  “And I’ll proceed of course with what I need to do for the political process to see to it that the project moves forward.”]

Bernero hopes to complete the sale of land to the tribe by November first.

The land sale was originally planned to be wrapped up this summer.  But the tribe, the developers and the city announced a 90 day extension to their plans.   At the time, they insisted the extension was not a delay and would not affect the ultimate timetable for the casino project.

The tribe also plans to ask the federal government to take the land into trust.    That is critical to the tribe’s plans to open a casino about 200 miles from their base in the Upper Peninsula.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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