Controversy Over Broken Arrow Casino At City Council Meeting

Tuesday, July 17th 2012, 10:21 pm
By: News On 6

It's been almost two months since the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled that the land where the Red Clay Casino would be built could not be used for gaming.

Tuesday night, the backlash of that controversy was on display at the Broken Arrow City Council meeting.

A group that supported the casino is asking one of the city councilors to apologize or step down from her position, because of her affiliation with an anti-casino group.

"That is a complete slap in the face to all Broken Arrow citizens, especially Native Americans," said Jonathan Bergman.

Bergman addressed the entire Broken Arrow City Council, but his comments were directed at just one member, Jill Norman.

"I am nothing short of astonished that, having an H.R. background, you would show such a flagrant disregard for human beings and the way that they should be treated, by associating with a group of people like this," Bergman said.

Bergman is in the pro-casino group "Citizens Protecting Native American Sovereignty."

Some pro-casino citizens feel that comments on the anti-casino group's Facebook page are racist and that Norman is affiliated with the group.

"To spare our city anymore embarrassment, we are asking you to make a decision," Bergman said. "If you do not wish to give up your seat with the city council, then you must publicly apologize to all those you have offended."

Norman sat and listened, at times shaking her head.

5/18/2012 Related Story: Federal Judge Halts Broken Arrow Casino Construction

When Bergman was finished, Jared Cawley spoke.

Cawley is with the anti-casino group, which is called "Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming."

"I must take issue when repeated defamatory attempts are directed at thousands of individuals whose only desire was that the federal law be followed," said Cawley.

Cawley claims he has proof of racist statements made by the pro-casino group on their own Facebook page.

"Using their own logic, we would have to label their group as a racist, bullying, hypocritical, fear-mongering, violent organization," Jared said.

Jill Norman would not grant us an interview and said through a city spokesperson that she didn't want to dignify Bergman's comments with a response.