Kansas seeks more time to respond in Quapaw Tribe casino case

The Downstream Casino Resort. Photo from Facebook

The state of Kansas is seeking more time to respond in a lawsuit that seeks to stop the Quapaw Tribe from expanding its casino.

The state filed the lawsuit in March after the tribe announced a $15 million expansion of the Downstream Casino Resort. But Attorney General Derek Schmidt needs more time to conduct "extensive" legal research, according to a motion filed on Tuesday.

Schmidt also said his office might be subjected to a furlough. Lawmakers have not passed a budget so thousands of state employees could be out of work, at least temporarily, come Monday.

Artist's rendering shows the planned expansion at the Downstream Casino Resort. Image from Quapaw Tribe

The Department of Justice does not oppose the request for the extension, according to the motion. On behalf of the National Indian Gaming Commission, government attorneys have asked for the case to be dismissed -- the state is seeking more time to respond to that request.

The tribe, however, does not support an extension. Schmidt initially named the NIGC as a defendant but later added individual tribal leaders, including Chairman John Berrey, a move that seems to run counter to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Oklahoma v. Hobia. Kansas falls in the 10th Circuit.

At issue is a land determination issued by the NIGC last November. The agency said 124 acres in Kansas can be used for gaming.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Photo by George Mullinix / Twitter

Government attorneys contend the determination does not constitute a "final agency action" that can be challenged in court. They also argue that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not waive NIGC's immunity for the situation at hand.

Generally, IGRA bars casinos on land acquired after 1988. The Bureau of Indian Affairs placed the property at issue in trust in 2012.

But Section 20 of the law contains several exceptions. The NIGC determined that the property falls within the tribe's former reservation outside of Oklahoma.

Get the Story:
Possibility of furlough affecting Kansas' lawsuit against Oklahoma tribe regarding casino (AP 6/4)
Furloughs for state workers like storm across Kansas (KWCH 6/4)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Indian Land Opinion For Site in Kansas (November 2014)

Related Stories:
NIGC seeks dismissal of suit over Quapaw Tribe casino expansion (6/3)
John Berrey: Governor in Kansas turns back on Quapaw Tribe (5/19)
Kansas seeks injunction to stop Quapaw Tribe gaming expansion (4/17)
Quapaw Tribe promises fight to protect casino rights in Kansas (03/19)
Kansas sues over gaming land determination for Quapaw Tribe (03/10)
Quapaw Tribe proposes $110M 'Emerald City' casino in Kansas (02/24)
Quapaw Tribe slams casino expansion opposition as 'anti-Indian' (02/11)
County opposes expansion of Quapaw Tribe casino into Kansas (02/10)
Kansas attorney general questions Quapaw Tribe's gaming plans (12/10)
Quapaw Tribe to expand gaming facility into ancestral territory (12/05)

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