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Judge Strikes Down '93 Pact Allowing Oneidas to BuildCasino
Published: June 29, 2004
The agreement between New York State and the Oneida IndianNation that allowed the billion-dollar Turning Stone Casino to be built a decade ago was ruled invalid by a judge yesterday. Acting Justice James McCarthy of State Supreme Court in Oswegoruled that Mario M. Cuomo, the governor at the time, ''exceeded hisauthority'' by entering into the 1993 compact with the Oneidanation without legislative approval. What effect, if any, the court decision has on Turning Stone, a sprawling casino resortthat attracts 4.2 million visitors a year, is uncertain. Turning Stone, in Verona, incentral New York, now includes a huge casino, three championship golfcourses, threeluxury hotels, a spa, a convention center, a cabaret-style showroom and an arena.The legitimacy of the agreement was challenged by Upstate Citizens for Equality, agroup created by central New Yorkers to oppose the Oneidas. It says the casino haseroded non-Indian businesses.Spokesmen for the Oneidas were not available for comment.The state, which had argued that the agreement was valid, declined to comment yesterday until the attorney general's office reviewed the ruling. A spokesman forUpstate Citizens for Equality could not be reached yesterday afternoon.Leon Koziol, a lawyer with a Utica firm representing the group, said the decision gavethe state a bargaining chip to end the tribe's claims for traditional lands on 250,000acres in central New York. The land claim threatens the eviction of 60,000 non-Indiansand has long been tied to the casino's development.
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udge Strikes Down'93 Pact Allowing Oneidas to Build Casino - NYTim... http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/29/nyregion/judge-strikes-down-93-pac...1 of 2 6/15/2010 2:35 PM