By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO December 18, 2001 On Thursday, December 13, the Mohican Nation of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Indians made a presentation to the Sullivan County Legislature. Members of the tribe were joined by representatives of Trading Cove International. Together, they run the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
Tribal President Robert Chicks began by talking about the history of the tribe, which is based in Wisconsin but originally hails from New York, where they have a land claim. Chicks explained how the tribe's community works and showed slides from their Wisconsin home.
Trading Cove representative Len Wolman explained that Trading Cove is a partnership of Waterford Gaming and Sun International. Utilizing a video that outlined the Mohegan Sun Casino and the benefits it brought to the community, Chicks and Wolman explained how long the process took (the casino was built within three years).
Then they outlined their plans for Sullivan County. The group has bought 350 acres of land off Route 17s Exit 107 in Bridgeville. They almost have their application complete and ready to file with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. They have been talking with the county for months and are confident that a deal will be reached. Chicks and County Legislature Chair Rusty Pomeroy downplayed rumors that talks had stalled.
Back in October, Governor George Pataki signed legislation that will allow three Indian gaming casinos in the Sullivan/Ulster area. Since then, the race has been on to get deals done with Sullivan County, New York State and the federal government.
To date, only the St. Regis-Mohawk tribe has a deal with Sullivan County. Their application for a hotel resort and casino at Kutshers Sports Academy, to be managed by Park Place Entertainment, is pending the federal approval.