LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is attempting to block plans for a $245 million American Indian casino in downtown Lansing.
The Lansing State Journal reports the lawsuit filed Friday in federal court seeks to stop the Kewadin Lansing project. The six-count lawsuit alleges the Sault tribe is violating federal law by proceeding with the casino, as well as violating the gaming compact the tribe signed with the state.
Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians earlier this year approved a proposal to seek federal permission to open the casino.
Tribal attorney John Wernet says the legal challenge was expected. He says the tribe expects to win in court.
Plans for the 125,000-square-foot casino were announced in January. It would be located adjacent to the Lansing Convention Center, and would offer up to 3,000 slot machines and 48 gambling tables.
Mayor Virg Bernero strongly promoted the plan, which backers say would create jobs and help improve the city. Bernero has said the casino would bring an estimated 2,200 union jobs, as well as generate $5 million to $6 million annually for the “Lansing Promise” – a college scholarship fund for area students.
The plans are opposed by Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as some other American Indian tribes with competing casinos.
Snyder and Schuette had previously sent a letter to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, saying the state would take “whatever steps are necessary” to prevent the casino from opening.
Michigan has more than two dozen casinos, most of which are owned and operated by tribes.
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