MLive on the Bay Mills Vanderbilt Casino Case & Proposed Lansing Casino


An excerpt:

Bay Mills has a reservation located on tribal land in the Upper Peninsula’s Chippewa County on the eastern end of Lake Superior.

In 2010, the tribe used earnings from a land settlement trust to purchase 40 acres of land in Vanderbilt, a tiny town just north of Gaylord that’s located more than 100 miles south of the tribe’s main reservation.

The Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act says that land acquired with funds from a land trust “shall be held as Indian lands are held.” So Bay Mills used that language as legal authority to open a small casino in November 2010 in Vanderbilt. Continue reading

IPR on Vanderbilt Casino Ruling


An excerpt:

A written statement from Bay Mills Chair Kurt Perron says the tribe ultimately plans legal victory, and to move forward with its “planned developments.” The tribe did not immediate elaborate on the statement’s meaning.

If Bay Mills is ultimately victorious, the tribe would likely be allowed to build casinos anywhere it wants, without state approval, as long as it buys the land with a specific pool of funds.

“Probably the biggest implication (of today’s ruling) in the long run is just to highlight exactly how difficult it is to shut down a casino opened by an Indian tribe under these circumstances,” says Matthew Fletcher, of MSU’s Indigenous Law Center.

The Vanderbilt Casino is widely regarded as a test site for its Upper Peninsula owner. The tribe has expressed interest in building in Port Huron, and perhaps elsewhere.

It’s not clear what implications this case might have for another Upper Peninsula tribe’s plans to build a casino in downtown Lansing.

Sixth Circuit Vacates Injunction against Bay Mills’ Vanderbilt Casino

Here is today’s opinion (PDF).

Here are the briefs:

BMIC Opening Brief in CA6 Appeal

LTBB Appellee Brief

State of Michigan Appellee Brief

BMIC Reply

BMIC Motion to Strike Appellee Briefs

Lower court materials here.

Here is the casino:

Guess they can take this sign down now:

Bay Mills Indian Community, Council Members, and Gaming Commission Motions to Dismiss Amended State/LTBB Complaints

Here are those materials:

BMIC Motion to Dismiss

BMIC Council Motion to Dismiss

BMIC Gaming Commission Motion to Dismiss

BMIC Motion to Dismiss LTBB Amended Complaint

Here is the State’s amended complaint.

Meanwhile, a Sixth Circuit panel is currently considering BMIC’s motion to strike its opponents briefs:

Referral of Motion to Strike

Opening Brief in Bay Mills Appeal to the Sixth Circuit re: Vanderbilt Casino


BMIC Opening Brief in CA6 Appeal

Bay Mills Appeal to Stay Preliminary Injunction Denied by Sixth Circuit

Bay Mills appeal to stay the preliminary injunction issued by the district court in Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians v. Bay Mills Indian Community & State of Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community was denied by the Sixth Circuit today. The document is here.

Our previous coverage of this appeal is here, previous coverage of this case is here.

Federal Court Enjoins Bay Mills’ Vanderbilt Casino

Here is the order:

DCT Preliminary Injunction Order

Bay Mills has until noon to close its casino.

Arguments for Injunction in Bay Mills Casino Case Heard Today

No ruling yet.

From Mlive:

A casino in northern Michigan is illegal and should be closed immediately, a lawyer for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians argued in federal court in Kalamazoo today.

The Bay Mills Indian Community opened a small casino in November on land it owns in Vanderbilt in Otsego County. The tribe, which is federally recognized and operates another casino in Brimley in the Upper Peninsula, says it is allowed to open casinos on tribe-owned land.

The Little Traverse Bay Bands sued the Bay Mills tribe in December and requested a preliminary injunction that would halt operations at the Vanderbilt casino.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney this morning heard arguments but made no decision on the injunction. Maloney said he would issue a ruling as soon as possible.

The Vanderbilt casino opened without going through any state or federal approval process. A lawyer for the Bay Mills tribe argued this morning that the land in Vanderbilt was purchased for the betterment of the tribe, making the property Indian land where gambling is allowed.

An attorney for the state of Michigan, which also sued the Bay Mills tribe over the Vanderbilt casino, told Maloney the state is worried about the Bay Mills tribe being allowed to open casinos anywhere it wants without government oversight.

“There is nothing to stop them from expanding,” said Louis Reinwasser, an attorney with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

The Bay Mills tribe last year purchased property in Flint Township that could be used for a casino if it survives this legal challenge.