Gaming machines at the Leelanau Sands Casino, owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Peshawbestown, Michigan. Photo: I-5 Design & Manufacture

Grand Traverse Band chairman faces recall after opposing new casino

The leader of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is facing a recall next month after questioning plans for a new casino in Michigan.

Chairman Thurlow “Sam” McClellan has been accused of misusing a credit card during a trip to Washington, D.C., Interlochen Public Radio reported. But Eric Carlson, who has been covering the story for The Leelanau Enterprise, said the recall is really about the tribe's gaming operations.

In the December 2017 issue of of GTB News, the tribe's official publication, McClellan said the Leelanau Sands Casino and the Turtle Creek Casino are losing money. Follow-up columns in the January, February and the March 2018 issues have raised concerns about plans for another facility and other financial issues.

In the March issue, McClellan said the tribe needs to re-examine its plans and "STOP the losses within the 4-walls of the casinos and the 8 tribal businesses losing money."

But if McClellan is recalled on April 3, a majority of the council will be able to move forward with the project and other plans the chairman has questioned, The Enterprise reported.

In addition to Leelanau Sands and Turtle Creek, the tribe operates the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Revenues from the operation have been shared with the local community -- more than $36 million since 1994, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

McClellan won election in June 2016. He is supposed to serve a four-year term.

Read More on the Story:
Casino dispute leads to recall effort against tribal chairman (Interlochen Public Radio March 27, 2018)

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