Update on Wisconsin Oneida v. Hobart — Possible Case to Watch re Fee to Trust

Complaint here.

Newer materials here:

Hobart Answer and Counterclaim

Oneida Motion to Strike Counterclaim

Hobart Opposition to Oneida Motion

Hobart Complaint against USA

Hobart Exhibits

Oneida Reply to Hobart Opposition

Baylake Bank v. TCGC & Village of Hobart — Covenant Against Tribal Ownership of Land

In a very interesting, even disturbing, development, the Village of Hobart, which has taken lands of the Oneida Indian Nation of Wisconsin through the power of eminent domain (Oneida v. Hobart), has now begun to use restrictive convenants running with the land to thwart the Nation. Here is the district court opinion upholding the restriction (from the same judge who found that the Village had the power of eminent domain against the tribe).

In this case, the Village sold a golf course to TCGC, which later went bankrupt. During bankruptcy, the village asserted its rights under a restrictive covenant that ran with the land. The covenant, added to the property when the Village sold it, prevents any owner (especially a sovereign nation like Oneida) from taking the land off the property rolls. It is clear from the opinion that the Village of Hobart did this expressly to deny the Oneida Indian Nation the right to seek a fee-to-trust acquisition by the Secretary under 25 U.S.C. 465.

We suggest that Shelley v. Kraemer and/or the 14th Amendment precludes such covenants, but it is a close question.

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