Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

August 27, 2013

UKB loses casino stay request

Closure of the facility appears all but inevitable

(Continued)

TAHLEQUAH —

Last June, the UKB and Pruitt’s office signed an agreement requiring trust status for the land and payment of $2 million in damages for operating the business without a compact.

“If the deadline is reached without the land being placed into trust, the payments to the state will cease,” said Clay. “To date, the UKB has paid nearly $600,000 to the state.”

The casino at 2450 S. Muskogee Ave. has about 150 employees, and fund the paychecks of more than 70 government employees.

On July 31, CN Principal Chief Bill John Baker offered the UKB a couple of options to keep its gaming operations afloat. According to CN Communications Director Amanda Clinton, the offers are still open.

The first option is for the Department of the Interior to take the existing plot of land into trust on behalf of the Cherokee Nation, and for the CN to immediately sign a 99-year lease with the UKB, with an automatic renewal clause, which would allow the UKB to continue gaming operations. Under that pact, the UKB would retain the profits and its employee base.

The second option is to arrange for the UKB gaming facility to move its existing operation to an acreage of land the CN already has in trust for gaming purposes near the junction of Highways 82 and 62, south of Tahlequah. Under this option, the CN would sign a 99-year renewable lease for the UKB to conduct a comparable gaming operation to its current facility.

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