Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 1, 2013

UKB gets extension for casino

TAHLEQUAH — The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma reached an agreement with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Tuesday, extending the tribe’s deadline for gaining a parcel of land into trust.

The 2.03 acres is land upon which the tribe’s casino sits, and the UKB had until the end of July 2013 to gain trust status or cease gaming operations.

Last June, the UKB and Pruitt signed an agreement requiring the tribe to pay $2 million in damages for operating the casino without a compact, plus secure trust status.

According to Pruitts Communications Director Diane Clay, the U.S. Department of Interior asked the state to extend the deadline indefinitely, to which the state did not agree.

“The UKB then asked for a 30-day extension,” said Clay. “The extension was granted following the Interior Department’s notice of intent to take the land into trust within the 30-day period.”

Clay said the state agreed to an Aug. 30 extension in exchange for the UKB’s increasing its monthly settlement payments to $5,000 per month and ending its lawsuit against the state.

“The lawsuit was originally filed several years ago in state district court and was moved to federal court  in the Eastern District of Oklahoma,” said Clay. “The UKB sough and was granted an order keeping the state from enforcing the state’s anti-gambling laws on the UKB’s casino site. If the land is not taken into trust by Aug. 30, the casino must close.”

The casino, at 2450 S. Muskogee Ave., has been in operation since 1986. Since its inception, a dispute has existed between the UKB and the Cherokee Nation as to whether the land can be considered for a trust designation.

Last week, the CN petitioned to block the BIA’s move to place the UKB land into trust, filing a federal injunction. According to the Cherokee Nation Constitution, tribal leaders are honor-bound to prevent another tribe from taking land into trust within its jurisdiction – “by blood,” if necessary.

Following the CN filing, Principal Chief Bill John Baker offered two solutions to resolve the controversy.

The first option would be for the BIA to take the plot of land into trust on behalf of the Cherokee Nation, and for the CN to immediately sign a 99-year lease with the UKB, with an automatic renewal clause, allowing the UKB to continue gaming operations. Through that pact, the UKB would retain the profits and its 300 employees.

The second option, according to Baker, is to arrange for the UKB gaming facility to move its existing operation to an acreage of land the CN has in trust for gaming purposes near the junction of Highways 82 and 62, south of Tahlequah. Under this option, the CN would sign a 99-year renewable lease for the UKB to conduct a comparable gaming operation to its current facility.

Baker said the extension will have no effect on the CN’s legal proceedings.

“The state’s extension from the attorney general’s office does not affect the federal proceedings with the Department of the Interior,” said Baker. “The Cherokee Nation’s offer of settlement remains on the table. I hope the leadership at the UKB puts their employees and their families first with a good faith solution that will be beneficial to all parties.

Jim McMillin, attorney for the UKB, said the tribe has no comment on options offered by Baker, and hopes federal court judges will allow the land to be taken into trust.

“We trust the federal court, upon hearing all of the evidence, will decline to issue an injunction and permit the Department of Interior provisionally to take the land into trust,” said McMillin.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-TonsOffTahl-A.jpg Tribes, city, NSU launch Tons Off Tahlequah campaign

    When studies are conducted about whether Americans are living healthy lifestyles, Oklahoma often ranks poorly among the states.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Stocks