By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO August 24, 2004 The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe announced on Friday that it has joined with Empire Resorts and will drop its litigation with the State of New York in exchange for a casino.
Representatives of the tribe met with Governor George Pataki in a meeting in Albany last Tuesday. The Oklahoma-based tribe stated that they would drop their portion of a 24-year litigation suit against the State of New York regarding extensive land claims. The tribe maintains an office in Cayuga, NY.
The tribes offer would end its litigation against the state, including its stake in the $247.9 million judgment it was awarded with the Cayuga Indian Nation. That judgment is currently in the midst of a court battle.
But theres a pretty big string attached: the state must agree to a gaming compact for a casino to be located in the Catskills. The proposal would require the federal government to take into trust the designated property for the tribe.
Pataki spokesman Todd Alhart said the state is reviewing their proposal. He declined to say how the previous settlement might be affected if the tribe dropped its claim.
The announcement did not indicate where the casino would be located. Officials from Empire Resorts, which owns and operates Mighty M Gaming at Monticello Raceway, did not return calls for comment by press time yesterday. Neither did spokesmen for the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe.
Empire Resorts previously had an agreement with the Cayugas of New York to build a casino near the raceway. The announcement comes after that deal collapsed following the disintegration of a land claims deal between the Cayugas and Governor George Pataki.