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Executive Council President: Jeff Parker* (208), Kurt Perron (189), Terry Carrick (94)
Vice President: Joseph LeBlanc (181), Allyn Cameron (189), Corrine Cameron (119)
Secretary: Richard LeBlanc* (225), Sherri Schofield (118), Greg Parker (147)
Treasurer: John P. Lufkins* (252), Diane Teeple (126), Paula Carrick (110)
Councilperson: Dwight "Bucko" Teeple* (196), Jason A. LeBlanc, Sr. (70), Alexander Easton (144), Brenda Bjork (82)
Chief Judge: Shelly Deuman* (114), Leah M. Parish (84), Arthur J. LeBlanc (26), Levi D. Carrick, Sr. (226), Robert Passage (46)
Appellate Judge: Lynda Parrish-Pesola (172), Tim Kinney II (90), Randy Touchtone (116), Shannon Belk (281), Justin Teeple (214)
|BMIC Tribal Chair Jeffrey Parker | Not being honest with |
Flint Township voters so he can get re-elected at Bay Mills.
Section 107(a)(3) authorizes the earnings of the Land Trust to be used for two specific purposes: (1) improvements on tribal land and (2) the consolidation and enhancement of tribal landholdings. Bay Mills does not suggest or argue that the Vanderbilt Tract constitutes an “improvement on tribal land.” Bay Mills defends the purchase as authorized by the second purpose. In the context of this provision, the statutory language has a plain and obvious meaning. The word “consolidate” means “to bring together or unify.”9 The word “enhance” means “to improve or make greater” or “to augment.”10 Obviously, the purchase of the Vanderbilt Tract is an enhancement of tribal landholdings, as the additional land augmented, or made greater, the total land possessed by Bay Mills. However, the statute does not authorize every enhancement. The statute uses the conjunction “and” between the word “consolidation” and the word “enhancement.” The use of the word “and” cannot be ignored. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404 (2000) (“It is, however, a cardinal principle of statutory construction that we must ‘give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute.’”) (citations omitted). In order for the purchase of land to be an “enhancement” authorized by the § 107(a)(3), the purchase must also be a “consolidation.” The statute requires any land purchase to be both a consolidation and an enhancement. Under §107(a)(3), Bay Mills may use the earnings from the land trust to acquire additional land next to, or at least near, its existing tribal landholdings. The statute does not allow Bay Mills to create a patchwork of tribal landholdings across Michigan.
"In fact, the last time voters trusted gambling interests, they were promised $500 million per year for schools from taxes on slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Promoters even signed a contract, saying that if the Legislature did not tax slot machines, they would cut a check directly to the school boards. So far, they have generated a paltry 20 percent of this figure – and recently they successfully lobbied the Legislature for a 30 percent reduction in their tax rate. Like the lottery, another promise broken."
In this fact-check, we're not going to wade into whether casino gambling generates enough new tax revenue to meet the state's needs. Instead, we'll check what No Casinos calls a fact: that machine proponents promised "$500 million per year" for schools and only delivered about 20 percent of that.
Jeff Parker, chairman of the executive committee for Bay Mills, spoke during the West Flint Business Association's monthly luncheon today in Flint Township. The potential facility is expected to be about 200,000 square feet, half of which would be gaming space, and could bring about 700 jobs to the area, Parker said.
Although the casino would be the "hub," Parker said Bay Mills planned to have the surrounding businesses by owned by area residents.
Many of the jobs would be minimum wage and the majority would be filled by area residents, he said.
Parker also said the tribe's attorneys were filing a motion today and three more Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that shut down Bay Mills' Vanderbilt facility earlier this year.
“We believe we’ve covered all the bases and we can go forward,” Parker said of the legality of the Vanderbilt facility.
Bay Mills purchased 28 acres in December at the northeast corner of Lennon and Dutcher roads in Flint Township.
Earlier this year, Bay Mills appealed a federal judge's ruling that forced the tribe to close a small casino in Vanderbilt, a slots-only gaming operation north of Gaylord, Mich. that opened without traditional approvals in place.
The lawsuit was filled by the state attorney general and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. They claimed the casino was illegal and running without necessary approvals.
Parker also planned to meet with township officials today to begin discussions about contracting for services such as police and fire. Called a payment in lieu of taxes, it would provide 2 percent of Bay Mills gross profits from the Flint Township facility to the township, Parker said.
He estimated it could result in between $2 million and $4 million for the township.
Thousands of unionized workers at Detroit’s three casinos are threatening to strike if management and labor can’t reach a deal by midnight tonight.
Negotiations were ongoing today after being extended for 48 hours past a Sunday deadline.
Representatives of several of the five unions on the Detroit Casino Council, representing dealers, hotel and restaurant workers, engineering, maintenance and other fields, couldn’t be reached this
UNITE-HERE Local 24, which represents hospitality workers at the casinos, said in a statement that members of the casino council on Oct. 11 approved a strike vote “by a margin of 97% in order to maintain the wages, benefits and working conditions they deserve” if an agreement isn’t reached.
Motor City Casino-Hotel spokeswoman Jacci Woods said only that management and the unions “have agreed to continue to meet and negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract prior to the new deadline.”
Greektown Casino-Hotel declined comment. MGM Grand Detroit officials couldn’t immediately be reached.
These are critical times for the casinos.
Despite having done well in the recession compared to the U.S. gambling industry as a whole, they're heavily indebted and face growing competition from Michigan’s Indian casinos and a new gambling hall set to open in Toledo next year.
Even third-place Greektown, which went through bankruptcy from which it emerged in June 2010, would have fared better without the debt all three casinos took on to build 400-room hotels required under city licensing deals, said Lansing-based casino analyst Jake Miklojcik.
“It’s like having a $300,000 house with a $600,000 mortgage,” said Miklojcik, a member of the board at Greektown during bankruptcy.
Broken Promises To Local Business & Host Communities
Take it from Kenneth Ivins, Finance Commissioner for casino host city Saratoga Springs, New York. The casino has driven up the city's costs for police, water, sewer, roads, and schools. But, facing a budget crunch, the state just zeroed out the $3.9 million in state aid the city once received to cover the increased costs.
And there are no economic gains for local merchants. "People who come to the area to gamble rarely shop," said Ivins. "The money is not going to the local merchants or the sales tax base. It's really not supporting our economy."
Run the Numbers: No Net Permanent Jobs
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that, for every $1 million diverted from household spending in New Hampshire, the state loses nine existing jobs. The New Hampshire Gaming Study Commission (page 19) projects that a $500 million Salem or Hudson casino would produce 2,215 permanent direct and indirect new jobs. But because up to half of casino revenue will be displaced from current consumer spending, nearly 2,500 existing jobs will be lost. Apart from temporary casino construction jobs, there are no net job gains.
Note that the median pay including tips at US casinos is $11.25 per hour.
...THE TUG OF WAR also reached editorial pages, where Port Huron casino supporters asked for the chance to compete with gaming facilities in Point Edward and Sarnia. No other American border town, they noted, has been denied this opportunity to participate in free trade.
Detroit pundits scoffed at these arguments. Even the editorial page of The Detroit News, a champion of free enterprise and conservatism, dismissed the notion of Port Huron being allowed to compete in the casino marketplace.
"Gaming works best for the region and the state when the casinos are concentrated downtown," The News intoned.
The failure of the bill nipped a blossoming partnership between a pair of billionaires -- Jim Acheson and Marian Ilitch -- who had completed blueprints for a spectacular development at Desmond Landing.
The casino was the anchor. Without it, there would be no hotels, hockey arena, commercial aquarium, indoor water park, antique boat museum, ship-watching center, minor-league baseball park, golf course or other ideas penciled into the grand plan... (Complete Column)
Contract extension with unions is set to expire at midnightThe New Contract Affects Dealers, Bartenders And Others Involved With Gaming
Detroit's three casinos and their unions face a midnight deadline tonight to reach a new deal before a contract extension expires.
MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino-Hotel and Greektown Casino Hotel as well as UAW Local 7777 and other unions are negotiating on economic issues.
Members of the unions' Detroit Casino Council have approved a strike if an agreement is not reached by the deadline "to maintain the wages, benefits and working conditions they deserve," according to a statement by Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 24, which represents cleaning, maintenance and other workers.
The Detroit Casino Council includes workers from Local 24; UAW Local 7777, which represents dealers and slot technicians; Teamsters Local 372, which represents valet and warehouse employees; Operating Engineers Local 547, which represents engineers and other trades positions; and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.
"MotorCity Casino Hotel and the Detroit Casino Council have agreed to … continue to meet and negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract prior to the new deadline," said MotorCity spokeswoman Jacci Woods in an email.
"I am unable to comment while negotiations are in process," said MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet in Las Vegas.
Greektown had no comment. UAW Local 7777 did not return calls for comment.
Revenues by the three casinos have increased 2.9 percent through the first nine months of this year compared with the same time last year, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
The two largest gaming halls — MotorCity and MGM Grand — have experienced revenue increases through the first three quarters. Greektown, which last year emerged from bankruptcy protection, has posted a 1.8 percent revenue loss through the first nine months of the year.
National gaming analyst Frank Fantini has said the Detroit casinos' results reflect gains from the economic recovery.
It remains uncertain how much of the revenue increases are fueled by promotional free-play credits that customers redeem at casino games.
Unlike some other states, Michigan requires casinos to count free-play incentives as official revenue.
An internal disagreement over whether to continue the relationship with their longtime business partner is threatening to split the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians.
The tribe joined with a Detroit-based management company in 2003 as part of their effort to land a casino. After yet another setback in that effort, the tribe's longtime leader wants to sever ties with Barwest LLC and its owner, Michael Malik. Another faction in the tribe may be on the verge of attempting to oust her, Saubel said.
The result has been a barrage of accusations and counter allegations.
Los Coyotes has been in the news in recent months as the tribe sought to work with another tribe, the Big Lagoon Rancheria, to open a casino in Barstow. (Los Coyotes' reservation is located in San Diego County. Big Lagoon is in Humboldt County.) Saubel claimed that Barwest and Malik "have done nothing" for the tribe except make empty promises.
"Why should we give [Malik] another chance when there are other people who want to help us?" Saubel said. "He's standing in our way."
Saubel said the 300-member tribe is now divided into two approximately equal halves. Her group includes most of the older tribal members, she said. They also remain allied with the investment firm Barronhaus and its principals, Barron Maisel and Gretchen Belli.
The other side is led by a pair of younger tribal leaders, Shane Chapparosa and Tina Johnson. Saubel said this group includes the rest of the Chapparosa family and many of the tribe's younger members. They remain allied with Barwest.
"We are planning on moving forward with Barwest," said Chapparosa, who is listed as the tribe's vice spokesperson. He said he continues to work under Saubel.
When told that Saubel had made conflicting statements, he indicated that the dispute could be settled by next week. "We have some internal tribal matters that we need to take care of," Chapparosa said.
Capitol Weekly has acquired numerous and contradictory documents detailing the relationship between Barwest and Los Coyotes. A spokesman for Barwest, Tom Shields, characterized the leaking of these documents as "part of a long line of efforts by people who want to derail this project." One of these documents was a September 28 letter from Saubel to Malik and Barwest, written on tribal letterhead.
"The tribe is in the process of starting over," Saubel wrote. "As part of this new beginning, and at least for the time being, the Tribe will disengage from LCB Barwest LLC."
Shields characterized this as part of an ongoing discussion, and said the tribe never entertained serious offers from any other outside management company. He denied that there was any "dispute" within the tribe.
"There are confidential letters that have gone back and forth between the tribe," Shields said. "It's unfortunate that there are folks out there who feel they need to distribute confidential information."
In another complication, Barwest owns the Barstow land on which the tribe hopes to build their casino. In her letter, Saubel wrote "regardless of whether Barwest comes to work with us again as a developer and casino manager, the tribe hopes to negotiate the purchase of the Barstow real property owned by LCB Barwest."
Shields said that Barwest "provided the financing part of that is purchasing the land," and the parties still intend to build there. In a Wednesday story in a local Barstow paper, the Desert Dispatch, Malik was quoted as saying he would not sell the land to the tribe if they were no longer working together.
In the meantime, Shields said, the tribe had cut ties with the Barronhaus. This was indicated in an October 17 letter from the tribe’s official counsel, Joel Bernstein of the firm McDermott Will & Emery. "The tribe voted on October 14, 2007, to sever all business relationships with you. You are not to represent to any third party that you represent the tribe."
"We had some deep concerns about some of the people who were involved with the tribe," Shields said. "They have severed that relationship."
Not so, said Saubel. She said Barronhaus has "done a good job" and continues to work with the tribe. She said the letter in question was drafted by Bernstein but never sent. When asked how the letter got out, Saubel said she didn't know. However, the tribal offices were broken into over the weekend and numerous internal documents were stolen, she said.
Maisel also said that his company continues to work with Los Coyotes. Barronhaus started working with Los Coyotes in 2002, and actually brought Barwest in the next year, a decision he said was a mistake. He also said a lawsuit filed against them by Barwest in June was a "frivolous" attempt to force them out and that papers were never served. Maisel went on to allege the Barwest was the source of the letters leaked to the media.
"The source is Tom Shields trying to split the tribe in two," Maisel said.
Big Lagoon chairman Virgil Moorehead said that his tribe is no longer involved with the Barstow Casino effort and are going ahead with a solo attempt to build a casino on their own lands, 750 miles to the north. The two tribes had a deal with the state to pursue a shared casino in Barstow, but that expired six weeks ago.
"Since September 17, we're focused on Big Lagoon and our negotiations with the state," Moorehead said.
Senator Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, proposed a gaming compact for the tribes this year in SB 157. The bill never moved out of committee and was amended in September to become a measure on licensing wine growers. The Michael Malik Sr. Trust contributed $2,000 to Wiggins' Senate campaign last year.
Saubel said there is a council-only meeting today to discuss the casino efforts--a meeting she was not invited to be but plans to attend anyway. A full tribal council meeting is set for mid-November. Saubel claimed the Malik has "seduced" the younger member of the tribe and called him "the devil himself."
"I was 83 when we started this. I'm 87 now," Saubel said. "I think he's just waiting for me to keel over."
...IF IT IS TRUE, and we may never know with certainty, it would not be the first time Motown has plucked a plum from PoHo.
A memorable example came three years ago when then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick led Detroit's successful effort to block a casino in Port Huron.
Kwame's mommy, former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and Detroit's other representative, John Conyers, crushed the Port Huron casino bill on the House floor. They did so by making an unusual -- some might say unholy -- alliance with out-state Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, whose district includes St. Clair County, supported the casino, but she could not convince any of her Republican colleagues in the Michigan delegation to join her. Overall, Republicans opposed the measure, 167-25, shattering whatever hopes Port Huron had... (Complete Column)
LOS COYOTES INDIAN RESERVATION -- Cattleman Frank Taylor rips hay from a bale, tossing handfuls to a dozen cows & calves that came running like puppies at the toot of his pickup horn.
Cattle, he explains, "are very clannish." If one group strays into another's territory, "those cows will hook them & chase them out."
Taylor, 61, is learning about that firsthand. He & his extended family are the focus of a dispute that's tearing apart this remote reservation in the mountains above Warner Springs, 70 miles northeast of San Diego.
Tribal Chairwoman Catherine Saubel & her followers are trying to banish the Taylors from the tribe. They openly hate the family of 20, whose late patriarch, Banning Taylor, ran the reservation for almost 50 years before his death in 1998 at age 92.
The Taylors refuse to budge. They've hired a lawyer to plead their case to the Sheriff's Department, Congress & the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Tensions that have simmered for years are reaching the breaking point. A brawl erupted at the monthly tribal meeting in March when the Taylors defied an edict not to attend. Sheriff's deputies were called to break up the fight, which caused some cuts & bruises but prompted no arrests.
Many up here fear things could get worse. Hot-tempered foes of the Taylors are brandishing guns & making threats. Frank Taylor keeps a weapon of his own within reach -- "for shooting rattlesnakes," he says.
Each side points fingers at the other: "Two men in a white pickup (like Taylor's) tried to run over our kids." . . . "My dog was shot in the face." . . . "I've had two dogs poisoned in the past year. . . . "
And, from the Taylors: "Our cattle have been shot." . . . "My grandson was almost grabbed out of our car." . . . "My fences & corrals have been vandalized. . . . "
"When a dog gets shot, he (Taylor) gets blamed for it whether there's evidence or not," said sheriff's Deputy Scottie Dawson, who has been patrolling Los Coyotes & other North County reservations since 1991. "It's been going on since before I was a deputy out here."
How did it come to this? Much of the answer dates back to the 1930s, when Banning Taylor was adopted into the tribe.
Born in Warner Springs, Taylor, a cattleman, moved in the early 1900s onto a 157-acre homestead that juts into the southwestern border of the 25,000-acre reservation. He raised his two sons there. (One died in 1986.)
In 1934, Taylor was adopted by tribal vote into the Los Coyotes band, which consisted of a Cahuilla Indian village in the mountains overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert, & some Cupeños occupying the foothills near Warner Springs.
The tribe now has 290 members, only about 40 of whom live on the reservation. Half of those residents are Taylors.
The late patriarch's Indian blood -- or lack of it -- has been an ongoing issue of contention.
"He's a white man," said the chairwoman's brother, Cahuilla elder Alvino Siva. "And all of his children, if you check their birth certificates, are all white."
Banning Taylor publicly claimed to be of mixed ancestry, Irish & Cupeño. Yet stories persist, passed down for generations, that he tricked his way into the tribe.
Some say he was a bootlegger who got the Indians drunk or did them other favors. Others say tribal members who spoke no English were told the adoption vote was only to grant Taylor a work permit.
"Banning Taylor has lied & lied & lied. He was a smart man, smart crook-wise," said Cupeño elder Ruth Cassell, 73, who left the reservation in her childhood but returned in the 1960s. "He was a white man. He could get jobs for the Indians. He got liquor for the Indians, too.
"He was the only one who had a truck. He used to go someplace & get fresh vegetables -- bananas, celery, sometimes lettuce & tomatoes. . . . He used to bring it, & we'd be glad to see him."
Frank Taylor says he has records proving his Cupeño lineage back to Juan Antonio Garra, leader of a notorious 1851 Indian uprising. He said he brought the documents to a tribal meeting last year, but Saubel wouldn't accept them.
Taylor also has copies of a 1978 U.S. Interior Department administrative ruling in which critics, including Saubel, tried & failed to have Banning Taylor's adoption declared invalid.
The department's Indian affairs bureau sent a letter March 30 to Rep. Ron Packard -- with a copy to Saubel -- stating it still stands by that ruling, & it would be "inappropriate (for the tribe) to raise the issue of the validity of the adoption of Banning Taylor Sr. or to attempt to disenroll his family upon these grounds his long tenure as chairman from the mid-1940s until 1996, when old age & ill health forced his retirement.
Critics say Taylor took care of his own & ignored the tribe's needs. One example was the power & phone lines, which until two years ago stopped at the Taylor ranch. His family lived in comfort while Indians on the other side of the hill lived in trailers & shacks with wood stoves & kerosene lamps.
Power lines were brought to the poor side in 1998; seven months after Saubel took office. But the project was started by Frank Taylor, who had been chairman the previous two years.
Frank Taylor says -- as his father did -- that tribal members themselves voted down the power extension in the 1970s because they distrusted government grants. He says his family members work & bought what they have with their own money.
Throughout Banning Taylor's years as chairman, Saubel & others accused him of taking government funds without putting them to use for the tribe. Now the Taylors are saying the same about Saubel.
The 80-year-old chairwoman dismisses these as white man's lies. She issued an edict -- backed by a vote at the March meeting -- giving the Taylors 60 days to document their enrollment or get out.
"We want them out, out of the reservation, because that reservation is for Indians, not blondes, blue-eyes & redheads," said Saubel, who left Los Coyotes as a youth & lives on the Morongo reservation near Palm Springs. "If I was white like them, I wouldn't want to be stuck in there with the Indians."
Tribal secretary Francine Kupsch said she & many others believe the Taylors are not legally enrolled & should have no rights in the tribe.
"It's all B.S.," she said of the 1978 ruling on Banning Taylor's adoption, "because nobody can decide our membership up here. Only we can."
|Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy|
Floral Park, New York