Monday, October 03, 2011

Latest on Bay Mills Casino Schemes backed by Michael Malik and Detroit's Ilitch Family

The Bay Mills Indian Community owns  two casinos (Kings Club Casino and Bay Mills Resort & Casino) in Brimley (MI).

For nearly two decades, Bay Mills has attempted to get approvals to build a casino resort in Port Huron, 350 miles away from its Upper Peninsula Reservation.  Detroit casino syndicator Michael Malik (Blue Water Resorts), with support from Marian Ilitch – her family owns the Detroit Tiger (MLB) and Red Wings (NHL), MotorCity Casino and Little Caesars pizza – has been the driving force behind the Bay Mills schemes.  They’ve spent millions lobbying local, state and federal officials and benefiting the campaign coffers of politicians who they have leaned on for support.

In 1993, Port Huron voters rejected Malik’s plan to develop a Bay Mills casino in partnership with Harrah’s.

For the better part of the last decade, their schemes have centered on a Land Claims Settlement they had negotiated with former Governor John Engler in the final days of his administration.  Malik and cronies had acquired control of properties in Charlotte Beach (MI) where Bay Mills had made land claims.  Those properties were to be leveraged to gain the right to build in Port Huron.

During 2010 Bay Mills acquired properties in Flint, Vanderbilt and Port Huron (MI).

With little to lose and much to gain, the Bay Mills Indian Community opened a mini-casino in Vanderbilt (MI) on Nov 3, 2010. The 1,200 square foot facility, located 100 miles from the Bay Mills Reservation, had 38 slot machines. (Bay Mills Press Release)

On the same day, leaders of five other Michigan Tribes released a joint statement calling on the National Indian Gaming Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior to work together with  Michigan’s Governor and Attorney General to take swift and immediate action to close what they called an “illegal gaming operation.”

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC Opinion) and U.S. Department of Interior (Solicitor's Opinion) have opined the Vanderbilt casino is not on Indian Lands and is therefore illegal.  

In December 2010, the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and Michigan’s Attorney General filed lawsuits seeking to shut down the Vanderbilt casino. (Petoskey News)

In January 2011, Bay Mills completed an expansion of the Vanderbilt casino more than doubling its size to 2,600 sq. ft.

On March 3, 2011, Bay Mills was ordered to shutter the Vanderbilt casino. In that ruling (Pgs 10-11), Judge Paul L. Maloney says the Vanderbilt property does not qualify as "Indian Lands" and as such is not exempt from the usual taxes, fees, codes and regulations.

A complicated and sure to be precedent setting legal challenge has ensued.  The blog Turtle Talk, and are resources of details and updates on the court activity.

Bay Mills leaders are expected to make a presentation to the Flint Township Board on Monday, October 3rd at 7:00 PM.  It has been rumored they plan to reveal plans for another off-reservation casino on 28 acres they acquired in Flint last December. (10.03.11 | Agenda)

 Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Flint) says it is highly unlikely Bay Mills can get the approvals to open a Flint casino.

It has been reported that if the play in Vanderbilt succeeds, Bay Mills plans to convert the old Port Huron post office on Military Street into a temporary casino with 1,500 slot machines.

Eventually, Bay Mills intends to build a permanent casino and luxury hotel at Desmond Landing, where the tribe owns 16.5 acres.

Five Opposing Tribes: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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