By Matt Youngfrau
ALBANY July 18, 2003 State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Teresi ruled yesterday morning that the legislation allowing Indian gaming in the state is constitutional.
The decision was considered a major victory by pro-gaming activists.
The decision is not a surprise, County Attorney Ira Cohen commented. When [attorney for the plaintiffs] Cornelius Murray went for an injunction a few weeks ago to stop the memo of understanding [the governor signed an MOU with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe for a land claim settlement and a compact for a casino at Kutshers Sports Academy] and Judge Teresi denied it, I thought it looked good. A temporary restraining order has to prove a likelihood of success, or that the action will cause irrevocable harm. The judge indicated the lawsuit would not have a likelihood of success.
New York State Governor George Pataki signed the gaming legislation on October 31, 2001. That legislation called for the approval of six Indian-run gaming casinos (three in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region, and three in Sullivan and Ulster counties), implementing Video Lottery Terminals at five state racetracks (including Monticello Raceway), and the states inclusion in the Powerball Lottery.
Murray represented a group that challenged the legality of the legislation. Teresi ruled that the legislation was constitutional because it was approved by the State Legislature. An appeal is expected to be filed.
There are currently three proposed casino projects in Sullivan County: The St. Regis Mohawk/Park Place Entertainment casino at Kutshers Sports Academy, the Stockbridge-Munsee/Trading Cove project on Bridgeville Road and the Cayuga/Empire Resorts casino at Monticello Raceway.