Wyandotte Tribe dealt another loss in fight for casino

Sunday, July 31st 2005, 9:56 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A federal judge handed the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma another setback in its campaign for a casino in Wyandotte County.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ordered the U.S. Department of the Interior to revisit a 2002 decision that supported the tribe's purchase of a casino site as following federal law.

Robinson based her decision Wednesday on evidence that a third party helped the tribe buy the land, which would violate a federal statute treating the land as Indian property and eligible for development as a casino.

Tribal Chief Leaford Bearskin declined to comment specifically on the ruling, saying he hadn't seen it, but vented his frustration: ``They've reviewed it three times.''

In 1984, federal officials paid the tribe $100,000 for lands in Ohio it had ceded to the federal government in the 1800s.

Federal law says that if that money alone is used to buy other property, the Department of the Interior is required to take that property into trust for the tribe. For the past 17 years, other tribes around the country have used that designation to develop federally chartered casinos.