By John Emerson
MONTICELLO January 5, 2001 Members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council met with members of the countys Casino Advisory Task Force in Syracuse Wednesday to discuss the future of the proposed casino that is planned for Kutshers Country Club.
This is the first time members of the advisory committee and the tribal council have met face to face to discuss the casino, according to Rowena General, the tribes Director of Public Information. The two-hour meeting took place in Syracuse because the location is approximately halfway between the tribes reservation on the New York State border near Canada and Sullivan County.
This meeting was long overdue, said General. Its been scheduled several times, but weather has forced us to cancel it in the past.
Attendance at the meeting was limited to members of the tribal council and the advisory committee. There were neither officials from Park Place Entertainment nor any legal representatives at the meeting.
It was very informal, said General. Really what we wanted to do was touch base with the representatives from Sullivan County and give them an update on the status of the casino. It was a very productive meeting.
Greg Goldstein, who serves on the advisory committee, said the meeting was full of frank talk and answered a lot of questions. He said the tribal council was initially apprehensive, but as the meeting progressed, they became more comfortable.
It was a very good meeting, he said. Im much more optimistic now than I was when we went up, and I think everyone else is, too. They are very nice, down-to-earth people. Im impressed by their commitment to do something right for their people and think they are going to be good neighbors.
The trust application for the land where the casino may eventually be built at Kutshers has not yet been filed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. General said that there have been a number of problems with the complex and lengthy application, including the untimely death of Park Place Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Arthur Goldberg.
She said tribal leaders met with the new chief executive, Thomas Gallagher, last month for the first time and that things will be progressing more rapidly in the immediate future.
Things will be moving more quickly from here on, she said. He committed to the tribal council that he will fulfill the objectives and dreams that Mr. Goldberg had for the casino. He is committed to making this the biggest and most profitable casino in the world, which is what Mr. Goldberg wanted to do.