By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO April 4, 2003 Sullivan County Legislature Chair Leni Binder, County Manager Dan Briggs, and County Attorney Ira Cohen traveled to Washington, D.C., Monday to meet with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to discuss the two gaming contracts they currently have.
Joining them was their attorney and expert in Indian affairs, John Jacobson.
According to Binder, the group went to the nations capital to discuss their two casino agreements. The main purpose was to explain to Director of Indian Gaming George Skibene the change the county has had in administration (Skibene had been dealing with former Legislature Chair Rusty Pomeroy). They also went to introduce themselves face-to-face and to open a steady line of communication.
Binder said the group assured Skibene that they were still firmly behind the compacts and would not deal with any tribe without a compact. The BIA agreed that the local government had to be in favor or they would not get approval.
Binder stated that she is not at liberty to reveal many of the discussion items. However, she did say they met for 45 minutes, and Skibene told them they were still reviewing the applications and would contact them when he had questions. They did agree that they were looking forward to meeting again at the New York Gaming Summit, which will be held on April 21 and 22.
The county has two tribal agreements, both worth $15 million per year, once the casinos are operational. One is with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe for a casino to be run with Park Place Entertainment at Kutshers Sports Academy. The other is with the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe for a casino, with Trading Cove Associates, off Route 17s Exit 107 on Bridgeville Road. Both tribes need approval from the BIA and must reach a compact with New York State Governor George Pataki.