Seneca Nation stopped paying $17M a year for casino police service

The Seneca Nation owns and operates the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York. Photo from Facebook

The Seneca Nation stopped paying the state of New York for casino policing services and local officials are raising concerns about having to foot the bill.

As part of its Class III gaming compact, the tribe agreed to pay $17 million a year for services, The Buffalo News reported. But a dispute prompted the tribe to walk away in 2011.

"The Seneca Gaming Authority confirmed unsupported and exorbitant charges by the State Police that were invoiced to the Nation. Because these charges were not defendable – and because the State Police has refused to provide any explanation – the nation has denied paying these charges for years," then-president Robert Odawi Porter told lawmakers in September of that year, Indian Country Today reported.

The dispute centered on $48 million in costs, ICT reported, a significant sum. With the state no longer on site, local agencies are paying out of pocket to provide law enforcement services at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls.

"When the compact was built the state police had a crew of 17 people in there and they were well compensated for it,” city councilman Kenny Tompkins told WGRZ. "Why should we do it for nothing?"

Niagara Falls Police Superintendent E. Bryan DalPorto told The Buffalo News that it would take six to 10 full-time officers to adequately patrol the casino. The average officer's salary, benefits and retirement cost comes to $125,000 per year, the paper reported.

WGRZ and The Buffalo News asked the tribe for comments but the tribe declined.

According to the New York State Police, the state has provided police details to the casino and other tribal facilities.

Read More on the Story:
Falls Officials Have Concern with Policing Casino (WGRZ 8/18)
Seneca Niagara Casino not paying for police, Niagara Falls chief complains (The Buffalo News 8/18)

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