From the Associated Press out of New York:
By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
ALBANY, N.Y. — The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council has stopped sharing revenue from the casino along New York’s northern border with the state, claiming the exclusivity provision of its gambling compact has been violated.
Tribal Chief Mark Garrow said the second-quarter check for about $4.9 million has not been sent. He declined to specify what state officials did against the Mohawks’ seven-county exclusive rights to install and operate slot machines.
Garrow said the move isn’t related to Gov. David Paterson’s administration attempts to tax lucrative tribal cigarette sales to non-Indians and isn’t coordinated with the Seneca tribe’s withholding more than $200 million from its three casinos in western New York. The Mohawks’ letter to the administration was sent last week, he said.
“While the state has yet to comprehensively review the reasoning behind the suggestion that we have violated the gaming compact, one thing is very clear: The St. Regis Mohawks failure to pay the state is an egregious material breach of the gaming compact,” said Morgan Hook, spokesman for Paterson. “The state will now seek all remedies available under the compact including expedited arbitration in order to protect the state and local municipalities from losing this critical funding.”
The administration two weeks ago threatened to end the compact that allows the Seneca Indian Nation to operate three casinos in western New York because of withheld revenue sharing payments. Counsel Peter Kiernan said in a letter that the Senecas owed the state and local governments about $105.5 million from 2009 and $109 million for 2010.
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