Casino Stalker | Compacts | Litigation

Menominee Nation wins decision to join rival tribe's gaming case

Members of the Menominee Nation and their supporters marched 156 miles from the reservation to the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison in February 2015 to call on Gov. Scott Walker (R) to support an off-reservation casino in Kenosha. Photo from Casino Kenosha / Menominee Nation

The Menominee Nation and the Forest County Potawatomi Community continue to battle over their gaming rights in Wisconsin.

The tribes have been at odds for years over a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha. The controversy appeared to be over in January 2015 when Gov. Scott Walker (R) killed the Menominee Nation's project.

But a lawsuit filed by the Forest County Potawatomi Community has kept the war alive. The tribe sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs for rejecting a Class III gaming compact that included a provision tied to the Kenosha casino.

The agreement allows the Forest County Potawatomi Community to stop sending revenues to the state in the event the Kenosha project becomes a reality. In the eyes of the BIA, the Menominee Nation would have been held responsible for those losses.

"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," then-Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn said in a letter to the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

Since the lawsuit seeks to reinstate the rejected compact, the Menominee Nation's rights are affected, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly determined. She allowed the tribe to intervene over the objections of the Potawatomis.

"The requested relief, if granted, would, as a practical matter, impede the Menominee’s efforts to obtain a gubernatorial concurrence and would thereby impede their efforts to develop a gaming facility in Kenosha," Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the 17-page decision.

The Potawatomis operate the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Kenosha is less than 50 miles away and it falls within a "non-competition zone" that was created by the disputed compact.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Forest County Potawatomi Community v. United States.

Get the Story:
Judge Says Tribe Can Intervene in Casino Case (Courthouse News Service 4/18)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: Menominee Nation Decision | Section 20 Determination: Menominee Nation Off-Reservation Casino

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