Lansing casino fight rages on as tribe votes to challenge feds – Lansing State Journal

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing Casino that the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is fighting the federal government for the chance to build.(Photo: Courtesy image)

LANSING – The tribe working to build a casino near downtown Lansing voted on Tuesday to challenge the federal government’s refusal earlier this year to put the Lansing property into trust.  

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has for years wanted to build a casino adjacent to the Lansing Center on East Michigan Avenue. The tribe has owned the land since 2012, but in July, the U.S. Interior Department denied the tribe’s request to take the land into trust, an important step necessary to open the casino through tribal gaming laws.  

Related: “Feds’ denial of casino plan won’t stop Bernero, tribe from a fight”

From the archives: “Lansing casino project isn’t dead, tribe says”

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At the time, both the tribe and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero — who has long supported the casino plan — vowed to fight the denial. On Tuesday, the tribe’s governing Board of Directors approved a resolution authorizing the tribal chairman and attorney to “take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to challenge and overturn the denial,” up to and including a federal lawsuit. 

“We are continuing to work with our legal counsel to make sure we have pursued every available option,” John Wernet, the tribe’s general counsel, said in an email to the State Journal, “but it seems likely that a lawsuit will be necessary to vindicate the Tribe’s clear statutory right to have these lands placed in mandatory trust status.” 

He could not specify a timeline for the challenge but said “this matter is of vital importance to the Tribe and we intend to move expeditiously … we continue to be very confident that we will

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