Trump eyes Indian casino in NYC
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Casino mogul and developer Donald Trump may be eyeing a casino in New York City and would partner up with a tribe to pursue the deal.

Trump revealed his intentions in an exclusive interview with The New York Post. He said if state and federal officials approve an off-reservation casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk in the Catskills, he would pursue his own development on a reported 100 acres on the west side of Manhattan.

But the St. Regis tribe faces an uphill battle, due to an already storied history over its proposal. After receiving federal approval earlier this year after three years of waiting, the tribe suddenly dropped its gaming partner for another one, a move which requires them to go through review process all over again.

Should the St. Regis proposal succeed, however, Trump may have a hard time convincing them to partner up with him, should he approach the tribe. He recently admitted funding a group which produced a series of radio, television, and newspaper ads which depicted the tribe as engaging in criminal activity.

The state's Lobbying Commission ruled the ads were considered lobbying. Trump could face a fine of $25,000 and misdemeanor charges, since he was unregistered as a lobbyist.

The Mohawk ads are just another chapter in Trump's often contradictory history involving Indian gaming. Referring to newly rich tribes such as the the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, Trump told Congress in 1993 that some Indians "don't look like Indians to me and don't look like Indians to Indians."

Trump is now is the financial backer for the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Tribe of Connecticut, who received preliminary federal recognition in April.

When the Seminole Tribe lost a Supreme Court case in 1996 against the state of Florida, who refused to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with them, Trump responded by saying Indian gaming is bad for states and for Native Americans. But two years later, he was working with the tribe to develop and manage casinos.

Jumping on the expanded gaming bandwagon in California, Trump also recently signed a letter of intent to consider managing a casino with the Twenty Nine Palms Band of Luiseno Mission Indians. The deal would bring $60 million to the tiny tribe and its reservation in southern California.

In response to Trump's interview, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday he would support a casino so long as the city would get a portion of its revenues and it was free of organized crime.

Related Stories:
Trump funded anti-Indian ads (Money Matters 08/30)
State rules on ads (Money Matters 08/22)
Report: Don King, Mohawk casino (Money Matters 07/20)
Trump on investigation for anti-Indian ads (Money Matters 07/18)