Fond du Lac Band spars with city over services for urban casino

Artist's rendering of the new exterior of the Fond-du-Luth Casino in Duluth, Minnesota. The tribe is spending $5.5 million to renovate the facility. Image from Fond du Lac Band

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the city of Duluth, Minnesota, engaged in mediation over the tribe's urban casino but the talks weren't fruitful.

Chairwoman Karen Diver said the tribe offered to pay the city for municipal services at the Fond-du-Luth Casino. She also said the tribe offered $200,000 a year to make up for property taxes for a site adjacent to the casino that is the subject of a land-into-trust application.

But the city demanded $2 million a year, The Duluth News Tribune reported. So the tribe walked out of the mediation session in January, the paper said.

"There’s no service to justify that kind of fee. We were just too far apart, and the mediator agreed with us to end it," Diver told the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon yesterday, the paper reported.

The tribe already paid the city $80 million under an agreement that has been invalidated by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribe could end up paying another $12 million as part of a lawsuit that's still being heard in the federal courts.

The land-into-trust application covers the one-acre site of the historic Carter Hotel. The tribe wants to raze the property in order to create a "buffer" zone around its casino.

Get the Story:
City, band continue battle over Fond-du-Luth Casino money (The Duluth News Tribune 4/15)

An Opinion:
Our view: Disappointment drags on over casino deal (The Duluth News Tribune 4/15)

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