BIA won't place Wyandotte Nation casino site in Kansas in trust

Map shows approximate site of proposed Wyandotte Nation casino near Park City, Kansas. Image from Google Maps

The Bureau of Indian Affairs finally issued a decision on a land-into-trust application submitted by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma.

The tribe acquired 10.5 acres in Park City, Kansas, in 1992. The site was purchased in connection with a land claim settlement act.

Any land purchased with a $100,000 settlement fund must be placed in trust, according to Public Law 98-602. Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, however, said the money for the Park City acquisition didn't come entirely from the settlement fund because it had been commingled with other tribal funds.

"The information provided from the state leads us to conclude that the nation could not have used 602 funds exclusively to purchase the Park City Parcel," Washburn wrote in a July 3 letter to the tribe.

The tribe wants to use the land, which is near a major interstate, for a casino. The state opposes the plan because it operates its own gaming facility 24 miles from Park City.

The tribe previously showed that it used 602 settlement funds to acquire a small site in downtown Kansas City. The land now houses the 7th Street Casino, a Class II facility.

In his decision, Washburn concluded that there wasn't enough money in the original 602 fund to purchase both sites. But he said the tribe is free to submit a new land-into-trust application with additional information about the source of the money.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, generally, bars gaming on land acquired after 1988. But Section 20 of the law creates an exception for land acquired in connection with a land claim settlement.

Through several rounds of litigation in federal court, the tribe proved that it qualified for the exception.

The 7th Street Casino in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The tribe acquired the land, also known as the Shriner Tract, with a land claim settlement fund. Photo from Facebook

Get the Story:
Federal agency rejects application for Park City tribal casino (AP 7/7)
Feds deny tribe's application seeking casino in Sedgwick County (The Topeka Capital-Journal 7/7)
Federal agency rejects Park City tribal casino (KWCH 7/7)

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Wyandotte Nation still waiting for decision on Kansas casino (02/03)

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