Stockbridge-Munsee Band prepares possible lawsuit in casino feud

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community owns and operates the North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Bowler, Wisconsin. Photo: North Star Mohican Casino

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community might be suing the state of Wisconsin and one of its fellow tribes over a disputed gaming project.

The lawsuit would name Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the Ho-Chunk Nation as defendants, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. But a decision hasn't been made whether to proceed with the case, Stockbridge-Munsee general counsel Dennis Puzz told the paper.

At issue is an expansion of the Ho-Chunk Nation's casino in Wittenberg. Stockbridge-Munsee leaders contend the project violates the Class III gaming compact because it turns the facility into a full-blown casino.

As a result, Stockbridge-Munsee says Wittenberg will cause losses to its North Star Casino Resort. The two facilities are only 16 miles apart.

A provision in the Ho-Chunk Nation's Class III gaming compact authorizes Class III gaming at four primary facilities and five ancillary facilities. The casino in Wittenberg is considered an ancillary facility. Source: Wisconsin Department of Administration

But Walker's administration does not believe the project violates the compact. And the Ho-Chunk Nation has defended the legality of the work, saying Wittenberg will remain an "ancillary" facility as envisioned by the agreement.

The dispute already prompted Stockbridge-Munsee to withhold a revenue sharing payment from the state. A lawsuit would escalate the matter just as the tribe's president called for more cooperation during the annual State of the Tribes address to the Wisconsin Legislature.

According to filings in federal court, attorneys Scott Crowell of Arizona and Bryan Newland of Michigan would represent the tribe if a lawsuit is indeed filed. Tribal attorney Bridget Mary Swanke, who is based in Wisconsin, is also listed in court documents.

Read More on the Story:
Stockbridge-Munsee tribe signals it could sue over Ho-Chunk casino expansion (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 4/6)

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