Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 11, 2012

Judge lifts UKB temporary injunction

TAHLEQUAH — A federal judge on Tuesday lifted a temporary injunction prohibiting the state from taking action to enforce gaming law violations against the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

The order, signed by Eastern District U.S. Judge Ronald A White, is effective July 30, and also requires the tribe halt casino operations until a land-into-trust decision is issued.

“...effective July 30, 2012, [the UKB shall] cease all gaming activities at the Tahlequah, Oklahoma gaming facility until such time, if ever, as a favorable land into trust decision is issued concerning [the UKB’s] Aug. 15, 2011, amended trust application...” states the order.

On June 8, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and UKB Chief George Wickliffe signed an agreement in which the UKB promised to pay a $2 million settlement to the state for operating the casino without a compact, and submitted an application to have the land on which the casino is located placed into trust.

Both parties agreed the land into trust issued be resolved by July 30, or casino operations would cease.

According to the June 8 agreement, both parties agreed to file a joint motion in the Eastern District Court, asking the injuction be lifted.

The Keetoowah Casino has been in operation at 2450 S. Muskogee Ave. since 1986. Since the casino’s inception, a dispute has existed among the UKB, the state and federal governments, as well as the Cherokee Nation, as to whether the land can be considered for placement into trust for the UKB.

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