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Sault Tribe comments on Congressman Stupak’s call to halt Greektown Casino Chapter 11 case pending land dispute resolution

The following statement is from Sault Tribe Chairman Joe McCoy. He comments on a letter from U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Interior, key state and federal elected officials and others asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Michigan Gaming Control Board to postpone the Chapter 11 reorganization of Greektown Casino.

The Congressman said the Chapter 11 reorganization should not continue until the courts determine if part of the land on which Greektown Casino was built can be legally transferred to a new owner without Congressional approval. The land in question is 0.76 acres at 1010 Beaubien and was acquired by the Sault Tribe in 1992, roughly eight years before Greektown Casino opened. Stupak is concerned that if there are restrictions on the land as a result of the Indian Non-Intercourse Act, 25 U.S.C. 177, title to the land can’t be conveyed to a new owner without Congressional approval. Stupak learned of the concerns about the land transfer during a meeting last weekend arranged by Sault Tribe Board Member D.J. Hoffman and attended by McCoy, Hoffman and other tribal leaders.

“Congressman Stupak agrees this raises a serious and valid concern that must be addressed by the courts before the Chapter 11 reorganization should continue. Under the law, the land in question was acquired by the Sault Tribe long before Greektown Casino was even built and it was conveyed by deed to the United States Department of the Interior on behalf of the tribe. We feel the only way that land can be conveyed to another owner is by an act of Congress. We are exploring all of our legal options and rights to protect tribal assets and our status as a sovereign,” said Sault Tribe Chairman Joe McCoy.

iconJune 9, 2010 Greektown Casino

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