Construction continues on a $33 million expansion at the Ho-Chunk Nation casino in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. Photo: Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg

Stockbridge-Munsee Band makes good on threat to withhold casino funds

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community has placed gaming revenues owed to the state of Wisconsin in an escrow account as litigation plays out in federal court.

The payment of $923,000 was due on June 30. But President Shannon Holsey told Wisconsin Public Radio that the state won't get to touch it.

"What I'm saying is until our dispute can be resolved, we have the ability to withhold it within our gaming compact and that's what we intend to do," Holsey told WPR.

The dispute arose out of the expansion of a casino owned by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Stockbridge-Munsee leaders believe the project is illegal because the facility will become larger than original promised.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community sued the state in April to fight the project. The state filed its answer on Monday and said the revenues must be paid.

"SMC’s complaint and its other communications with the state concerning its revenue sharing payments fail to identify any valid legal basis for SMC to withhold its annual revenue sharing payments," the response read.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Community also sued the Ho-Chunk Nation, whose attorneys filed their answer on May 18. The Ho-Chunks say they can't be sued due to sovereign immunity.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is spending $33 million to expand its casino in Wittenberg. The project includes a hotel, a restaurant and bar and more space on the gaming floor.

The Stockbridge-Munsees operate the North Star Casino Resort about 16 miles away.

Read More on the Story:
Northern Wisconsin Tribe Withholding Casino Revenue From State (Wisconsin Public Radio 6/29)
Wisconsin Says Tribe Must Cough Up Casino Revenue (Law360 6/26)

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