The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Council has sent a clarification letter to the state regarding a statement made last month by Tribal Chairman Ken Harrington.
In early November, Harrington told various media outlets that Bay Mills Indian Community’s recently opened casino in Vanderbilt violated an agreement that the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians has in a compact with the state.
In response to this alleged violation, Harrington then announced that his tribe would discontinue making its annual 6 percent economic incentive payment to the state’s strategic fund — which according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board was $2,536,160.32 in 2009.
During an emergency meeting on Nov. 10, the tribal council then voted 8-1 to have Jim Bransky, the tribe’s general council, draft a letter to “clarify” the tribe’s position with the state, regarding its 6 percent economic incentive payment.
The letter, which was drafted and sent to Eric T. Bush, administrative manager for the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Nov. 10, states: “The tribal council would like to clarify that the final decision as to whether the (6 percent) economic incentive payment has been suspended will be made in February 2011, when the 2010 payment is due.
“The decision will be based on a careful analysis of the pertinent compact provisions in light of the opening of Bay Mills Indian Community’s Vanderbilt casino, as that situation unfolds.”
The tribal council goes on to state that, in the meantime, it will continue to set aside the money to make its payment to the state.
The morning after the tribal council’s emergency meeting, Harrington sent out an e-mail to all tribal council members, stating that their actions would have a “negative impact” on the tribe.
His e-mail, dated Nov. 11, reads: “Reverse action like this makes our tribe look divided and weak … what I’m seeing is reactive tribal council activity. I want us to work together.”
Read the rest here.