Compacts | Litigation

Forest County Potawatomi Tribe sues BIA over rejected compact

The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo from Facebook

The Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration on Wednesday after its Class III gaming compact was rejected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The complaint was filed in the federal court in Washington, D.C.. It accuses the BIA of relying on faulty information and of ignoring the law when it rejected the agreement earlier this month.

“Good government requires clear rules, and we think the BIA violated those rules,” tribal attorney general Jeff Crawford said in a press release. “We are confident that this unlawful decision will be overturned by the courts.”

Artist's rendering of the proposed Menominee Nation off-reservation casino. Image from Casino Kenosha

The tribe operates the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, an off-reservation casino in Milwaukee. The compact would have required the state to compensate the tribe for losses from a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha, about 40 miles away.

The Menominee Nation is behind the $800 million Kenosha casino. The BIA said the Potawatomi compact was unfair to the Menominees.

"We have never been presented with a compact or amendment that goes so far as to attempt to guarantee the continued profitability of one tribe's casino at the expense of another tribe," Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, sad in a January 9 letter to the Potawatomis.

The lawsuit does not name Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). He faces a February 19 deadline to decide whether to approve or reject the Kenosha casino.

Get the Story:
Forest County Potawatomi Files Lawsuit Over Gaming Compact (WBAY 1/22)
Potawatomi tribe files lawsuit over gaming amendment (WISN 1/22)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Letter from Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn

Related Stories:
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe to sue BIA over gaming deal (1/13) BIA rejects Forest County Potawatomi Tribe's gaming compact (1/12)