Appeals Court Rules in Favor of New York Over Seneca Gaming Revenue

Posted on: February 22, 2021, 06:23h. 

Final up to date on: February 22, 2021, 06:23h.

After a federal appeals court docket panel dominated Monday in opposition to the Seneca Nation of Indians in its ongoing authorized battle with New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a easy assertion for the tribe – it’s time to pay up.

New York Seneca
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his Feb. eight COVID-19 briefing in Albany. On Monday, Cuomo introduced a federal appeals court docket dominated within the state’s favor in a case filed by the Seneca Nation of Indians concerning funds tied to the Class III gaming compact between the 2 sides. (Picture: Mike Groll/Workplace of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

With the state’s newest authorized victory within the now four-year-old case over tribal gaming revenues, Cuomo instructed reporters the tribal nation owes the state and a couple of dozen county and native governments within the western a part of the state about $435 million.

The court docket resolution was clear and after years of delay, a number of appeals and a number of court docket losses, it’s excessive time the Seneca Nation follows the regulation and pays what they owe,” Cuomo instructed reporters in asserting the decision throughout his every day briefing.

State Finances Director Robert Mujica stated of the funding, about $150 million will go to a dozen native governments, together with Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The rest will go to the state, which he stated would use most of these funds for schooling.

Seneca Sought Court docket Reduction After Arbitration

The Seneca Nation operates three casinos within the state. In 2002, it signed a gaming compact with state officers, enabling the tribe to supply Class III gaming. The settlement was for 14 years with a seven-year optionally available extension that kicked in if neither get together objected.

Each side agreed to proceed the association, however after that Seneca leaders raised questions on the necessity to proceed making funds to the state and native governments. It cited an Inside Division letter stating the funds didn’t should proceed.

The division ultimately withdrew the letter.

Each New York and Seneca Nation entered into arbitration. After a cut up resolution within the state’s favor in 2019, tribal leaders went to federal court docket to vacate that call. In submitting swimsuit, Seneca officers stated the arbiters didn’t observe the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in its ruling. Tribal leaders additionally stated the panel’s ruling undermined the authority of the Inside Division, which oversees tribal issues.

In November 2019, a US District Court docket decide ruled in the state’s favor. That led Seneca officers to take the matter to the Second Circuit Court docket of Appeals earlier than a three-judge panel.

Within the ruling, Choose Rosemary Pooler famous that the arbitrators didn’t break the IGRA. As well as, after the Inside Division withdrew its technical letter, the company determined to not intervene.

“There isn’t a suggestion the arbitrator lacked the ability to order funds; certainly, this was the very query submitted to it,” Pooler wrote. “Upholding the choice right here doesn’t undermine IGRA’s secretarial evaluation requirement. As a substitute, it merely reinforces the precept that the place a celebration chooses to depart contract interpretation to arbitrators, a celebration can not invoke that requirement to evade the implications of its alternative.”

What’s Subsequent?

Whereas Cuomo desires the Seneca Nation to pay the state – particularly because the state faces a price range shortfall of as much as $15 billion – Monday’s ruling could not essentially be the final within the case.

Below the appeals course of, the tribal nation might ask the total Second Circuit to evaluation. It additionally might take the matter straight to the Supreme Court docket.

“The Seneca Nation is reviewing immediately’s resolution and discussing all of our choices presently,” the tribal nation stated by way of a spokesperson in a press release Monday.

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