|Updated: 2/08/2012 9:08 am
||Published: 2/07/2012 4:42 pm
Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a lawsuit against the Kialegee Tribal King Tiger Hobia in an effort to stop a proposed casino in Broken Arrow.
Pruitt filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tulsa on Tuesday. The suit seeks to stop the tribe and construction company Florence Development Partners from continuing construction of the proposed Red Clay Casino, citing the tribe’s failure to get federal approval of a lease for the property. The absence of lease approval and lack of jurisdiction over the land violates the state compact’s requirements for Indian gaming, Pruitt said.
“No one, tribal or otherwise, is above state or federal laws,” Pruitt said. “The Kialegees do not have the authority to pick and choose which steps to follow in the federal or state approval process of establishing casinos. The complaint filed today is to protect the interests of Oklahoma and its citizens, and ensure the rule of law is being followed.”
The 21-page filing names as defendants King Hobia, Florence Development Partners, First Warrior Thomas Givens and members of the tribe’s business committee. The court will file the lawsuit on Wednesday.
At a Broken Arrow City Council meeting on Tuesday night several people said the tribe never got federal approval to move forward. In order to operate, the casino will need sewage and water. People at the meeting are urging councilors to block those services.
"Council members, you should step down,” said one person at the meeting. "Potential business will avoid Broken Arrow, because it will have the stigma of being a casino destination."
Several people at the meeting argued the city is dragging its feet. Broken Arrow Mayor Mike Lester shared what’s next.
"The very next step will be Wednesday morning with the city attorney contacting the Attorney General's Office. Ultimately, the answer is going to have to come from someone from Washington D.C.," said Lester.
Lester said he wants to make sure all the necessary steps are taken, so that Broken Arrow is within its rights if the city gets sued.
The Kialegee Tribe is responding to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, saying there can be no violation of the gaming compact until gaming is conducted.