Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 12, 2014

Tribe plans gambling in Lansing, Detroit

SAULT STE. MARIE (AP) — A Michigan Indian tribe announced Wednesday that it’s seeking land in Lansing and near Detroit Metropolitan Airport to build gambling facilities.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians said it filed applications Tuesday with the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the land into trust.

A $245 million gambling resort would go up on three acres near downtown Lansing, the tribe said. It said the casino would be 125,000 square feet.

The scope of a gambling project anticipated for 71 acres in Wayne County’s Huron Township will be determined by an economic impact study, the tribe said. The site is south of the airport and about 25 miles southwest of Detroit.

A federal appeals court ruled in December that the Upper Peninsula tribe can move ahead with plans to build the Lansing casino. The state has opposed the project, but Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette last week withdrew his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear lawsuit.

The Supreme Court ruled in another Michigan casino case that Indian tribes have sovereign immunity that prevents them from being sued.

Mandatory Fee-to-Trust Acquisition applications were filed with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs in Sault Ste. Marie, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., according to the tribe, which added that the interior secretary could act on the applications within a matter of a few weeks.

“Our Tribe is within federal law and our legal rights to pursue these opportunities to create thousands of new jobs and generate millions of dollars in new revenues that will benefit our members, the people of Lansing, public school students in Lansing, the people of Huron Township, and the entire state,” said Sault Tribe chairman Aaron Payment.

About 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs would be created by the casino in Lansing. A Huron Township casino would generate money to provide services for tribal members in the Detroit area.

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