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Seneca Nation files federal motion to resolve dispute

Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-09 23:49:29-04

SENECA NATION (WKBW) — The Seneca Nation of Indians announced the United States Department of Interior has invited the nation and New York State to submit a joint submission before a review of a compact amendment created by an arbitration panel earlier this year can be reviewed.

In April, the Seneca Nation requested the federal review of the compact amendment following the ruling by an arbitration panel which stated the nation had to pay more than $255 million in casino revenue to cities the casinos are located in.

“This action by the Department of Interior unfortunately fails to resolve the ongoing disagreement between the State of New York and the Seneca Nation. Without federal review, the amendment crafted by the arbitration panel remains unenforceable. Before notifying the State that our revenue share obligation had ended, we requested and received confirmation, in writing, that the Interior Department concurred with us that the Compact payment obligation ended after 14 years. With that confirmation, the Seneca Nation leadership made a final payment to New York State in March 2017, completing our 14-year obligation. Once the arbitration panel finalized its ruling, which amended the Compact, we moved expeditiously to submit our request to the Department of the Interior within a matter of days, in the hope that the Department would make a decision that would resolve this impasse once and for all. Instead, we were notified after seven weeks that the review process never even started.”
Seneca Nation President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.

The nation says it has filed a federal court order asking the arbitration decision be vacated due to the fact is inconsistent with federal law.

“You cannot simply skip past the fact that the arbitration decision and amendment must concur with federal law, and, right now, the amendment and the law conflict with one another. The only other alternative to resolve the matter would be for the Nation and the State to come to some agreement and jointly submit it to the Department of Interior for review. The Nation is open to those discussions.
Unfortunately, unless the Governor is willing to sit down with the Seneca Nation leadership to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution that we could submit to the Department of Interior together, I am concerned that this litigation will continue for the foreseeable future, leaving the Seneca Nation and the local governments who benefit tremendously from our gaming operations in legal and financial limbo.”
Seneca Nation President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.