Gun Lake Tribe offers update on expansion at casino in Michigan

The Gun Lake Casino is located in Wayland, Michigan. Photo from Facebook

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, is sharing more details about its casino expansion project.

The press conference on Tuesday will include information about the timeline, project cost, square footage and employment figures, as well as new dining, gaming and entertainment options at the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan. Preliminary work began in January.

The announcement comes as the tribe faces yet another hearing in a long-running land-into-trust dispute. At issue is S.1603, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, a law that confirms that the casino site is indeed Indian land.

A federal judge upheld the constitutionality of the law last June. But David Patchak -- who lives three miles from the casino and has admitted he wants to some sort of monetary payout for his apparent troubles -- has taken the case to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Oral arguments in Patchak v. Jewell will take place at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2016.

Oral arguments are scheduled for May 13, according to the court's calendar. Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the case, Patchak v. Jewell

Patchak originally filed his lawsuit in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. In that ruling, the justices held that the Bureau of Indian Affairs can only acquire land for tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. The Gun Lake Tribe gained recognition in 1999.

A decision on Patchak's claim was never reached on the merits because a different legal question arose during the litigation. The Supreme Court, in Salazar v. Patchak, ruled that he could proceed even though the BIA had already placed the land in trust.

By that time, the tribe had already opened the casino, which employs more than 800 people and has contributed more than $80 million to the local community. Those figures will be growing with the expansion.

Federal District Court Decision:
Patchak v. Jewell (June 17, 2015)

Related Stories:
Gun Lake Tribe starts preliminary work for expansion at casino (01/07)
Gun Lake Tribe withholds revenue sharing payment in Michigan (08/18)
Non-Indian man plans appeal in loss of Gun Lake Tribe casino case (07/06)
Judge supports Gun Lake Tribe in battle over land-into-trust law (06/18)
Non-Indian man disputes law protecting Gun Lake Tribe's casino (12/10)
Gun Lake Tribe surpasses $60M mark in shared gaming revenues (12/09)

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