The tribe went on to say that it would immediately move towithdraw its pending lawsuit against Secretary of Interior DirkKempthorne, who last month denied the tribe's land-into-trustapplication that would have allowed construction to begin on theproject. The tribe will also withdraw all pending agreements beforethe National Indian Gaming Commission.


"We are angered and feel deeply betrayed by our gaming partners'decision to pursue a different project with a different partner,"the St. Regis Mohawks state. "This comes after more than 12 yearsof effort and commitment by the tribe and the company to bring aMohawk casino to the Catskills and marks a very sad day in thehistory of this project."


Earlier this week, Empire and Concord AssociatesLP, led by developer Louis R. Cappelli, reached anagreement for a hotel/resort gaming complex at the Concord Hotelless than three miles away in Kiamesha Lake. The agreement callsfor the current video gaming machines facility or "racino" as wellas the harness racing track to move to a 160-acre site on thegrounds of the Concord Hotel. Concord Associates is the owner ofthe famed Concord Hotel property. The plan also involves thedevelopment of approximately 1.5 million sf of gaming, hotel andentertainment space. As proposed, the project would feature a100,000-sf gaming facility that would house approximately 1,500video gaming machines, a convention center, a hotel, golf, retailstores, restaurants and family entertainment uses. The gamingfacility would be built inside what is currently projected to be a500-room hotel, although Empire-Concord could build as many as1,500 rooms.


In response to the St. Regis Mohawks' stated intent to cease allefforts relating to the casino, Empire Resorts SVP CharlesDegliomini issued a statement of its own that could be seen as anolive branch to the tribe. "Empire Resorts is offering the peopleof Akwasasne the ability to participate in and benefit from ourplans at the Concord regardless of whether or not the Secretary ofthe Interior's decision is overturned. Given the recent denial ofthe Mohawk application by the Interior Department, a NativeAmerican casino at the Monticello Raceway will now depend on eithera decision by the federal court overturning the secretary's denial,or a newly appointed Secretary of Interior willing to reverse hispredecessor's denial. Either of these alternatives are significantobstacles."


Empire Resorts statement continues, "nevertheless, Empire iswilling to extend our relationship with the tribe and work togetherto see the unfair and unlawful decision overturned. We stand readyto work with the Mohawk people. We look forward to a positiveresponse from the Tribal Council."

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.