The Bureau of Indian Affairs is asking owners of the land where the Kialegee Tribal Town plan to build a Red Clay Casino are asking to see the lease to the land.
On Thursday the Kialegee Tribal Town began moving trailers to the construction site at 111th and 129th. Construction at the site will continue after the units are in place. Tribal officials say the casino should be ready to open in late spring or summer.
In a letter sent on February 13th the Acting Regional Director for the Eastern Oklahoma Region of the BIA states any construction of a gaming facility has to be approved by the BIA. An attorney for the casino developers, Dennis Whittlesey, previously said the BIA did not have to approve the construction.
The BIA official disagrees and is requesting to see the lease the owners filed with a Tulsa district court in August, as well as any changes to the lease. If the landowners choose not to file a lease the official wants an explanation as to why they do not think they are required to do so.
Congressman John Sullivan, who opposes the casino, released this statement about the BIA's action on Thursday.
"First, I would like to applaud the Bureau of Indian Affairs for taking this step in insisting that a legitimate land lease be in place before any further development on the proposed Broken Arrow casino site can occur.
I am cautiously optimistic that once the parties involved go through the normal process of siting a gaming facility – a process they have ignored to this point – the numerous questions surrounding this proposed casino will become glaringly obvious and this development will be stopped.
When I joined with the concerned citizens of Broken Arrow in taking up this fight almost two months ago, my chief concern was with the lack of transparency surrounding this development. It is now painfully clear to those of us opposing the casino that our concerns were valid.
Make no mistake about it: I do not believe this fight is over. I will continue to do all I can to beat back this casino development until a final decision is made and all possible options to stop the gaming facility have been exhausted."
The Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming released a statement showing their support for the BIA as well. The full letter is attached.
Marcella Giles, one of the landowners, released a statement expressing displeasure the letter from the BIA was sent to the Oklahoma Attorney General's office. She says she and her sister have consulted their legal counsel.
The BIA says they want a response to the letter by February 24th.