Counsel for the Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County issued a stern reminder yesterday in a letter to the attorney representing the Seneca Nation of Indians with respect to the Tribe's plans announced last Wednesday to proceed with the construction
of a $130 million permanent casino in downtown Buffalo despite ongoing litigation in Federal court challenging its legality.
The anti-gambling coalition's attorney, Cornelius D. Murray, noted that the same court had already struck down two previous approvals of such gambling by the National Indian Gaming Commission ("NIGC"). On July 25 the court issued a final briefing schedule before issuing a determination with respect to the NIGC's latest attempt to get around the Court's prior rulings. The Senecas' attorney was in court when the court issued the scheduling order, just one week before the Tribe's announcement on August 1.
"It's remarkable," Murray said, "that the Tribe would presume to move forward as if the Court's decision won't matter one way or the other. Without advising the court of their plans, the Senecas have apparently adopted a 'damn the torpedoes' approach. I can't imagine putting that amount of money at risk before knowing how the judge will rule." Murray added.
"This project has been on-again, off-again, ever since the Senecas announced a $330 million project with a 22-story hotel and parking garage nearly five years ago. This latest proposal is a significant scale-back, but it still involves over $130 million. "At the very least, the more prudent course for everyone would be to wait and see how Judge Skretny decides," Murray said.