By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO April 20, 2001 On Tuesday, the Town of Thompson took a big step forward in attempting to secure an Indian gaming casino at Kutsher's Country Club. The town board passed a resolution supporting the casino at Kutsher's if all agencies involved sign off on it.
This is just the latest event in what has been a flurry of activity concerning gambling over the last several weeks.
On March 23, Park Place Entertainment filed an application with the United States Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a casino at Kutsher's Country Club. Approval could take well over a year.
Around the same time, it was announced that the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of American Indians from Bowler, Wisconsin had purchased 300 acres of property near Exit 107 (Thompsonville Road). The tribe has owned the property for well over a year and met with the Casino Advisory Committee to inform them of their intentions. The group runs the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
On April 10, Justice Joseph Teresi ruled that the governor cannot be the only one to sign off on a casino. The State Legislature must also give approval.
There were those who decried that move as the death knell for local casino gaming. However, published reports said that State Senator John Bonacic has stated that the State Legislature would be favorable to a casino in Sullivan County.
The fight is a long way from over, as appeals are expected, and the case could take years before it is settled.
On April 12, Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini sent out a news release asking people to boycott Donald Trump. Cellini accused Trump of impeding progress with a casino coming into Sullivan County.
Cellini announced on Tuesday that several have joined his boycott. The Presidential Estates Homeowners Association in Swan Lake sent out a letter of support. Cellini also announced that he has gotten letters of support from the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Thompson board. Copies of the resolution and a letter will be sent to New York Governor George Pataki, United States Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, United States Congressmen Benjamin Gillman and Maurice Hinchey, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, New York State Senator John Bonacic, New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther, Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs James McDevvit. It was also suggested that the resolution be sent to State Majority leader Joseph Bruno.
Cellini said the board took the action because someone had to take the lead. He also announced that Park Place Entertainment will be having an open forum at Sullivan County Community College on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. He invited any interested people to turn out and rescheduled the board meeting that night so they could attend.