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Seneca Nation Council approves transfer of funds to resolve gaming compact dispute with New York State

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Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 14:32:10-04

CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, IRVING — The Seneca Nation Council has approved the transfer of funds to resolve the nation's outstanding gaming compact dispute with New York State.

The council approved a resolution directing the transfer of funds during a special meeting Monday afternoon. According to a release, it calls for the transfer of $564 million from a restricted escrow account in which compact-related funds have been held and covers the period of January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021.

The council's vote came as several Nation-related bank accounts were frozen over the weekend as part of an information subpoena issued by the state. The Seneca Nation said the freeze will be lifted as a result of the resolution.

The Seneca Nation simply could not stand by while New York State intentionally attempted to hold the Seneca people and thousands of Western New Yorkers hostage. The State may think it’s appropriate to force an Elder to go without their diabetes medication or a family, already dealing with the financial impacts of the pandemic, to go without a paycheck. The Seneca Nation won’t let that happen. We will not let New York State strangle the people of Western New York.
- Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels

President Pagels is also calling on the state to begin compact discussions with the Seneca Nation. The current compact went into place in December 2002 and expires in December 2023. The Seneca Nation said "New York State has continually and dramatically changed the gaming landscape" and "those changes need to be reflected in a Compact that meets the standards set forth in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act."

A spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul released the following statement to 7 News:

Since the beginning of her administration, Governor Hochul has been committed to resolving this issue and receiving the funds the State and local governments are owed. The courts have consistently ruled in the State's favor, and the State has negotiated in good faith and met every hurdle. After the Nation once again failed to make payments under the terms of an amicable agreement, the State took action in the courts to turn over the owed funds. This only impacts the funds that are owed to the State. We look forward to swift resolution.