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Lansing city council delves into casino deal

An artist' conception of the proposed casino in downtown Lansing
(courtesy of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of chippewa Indians)
An artist' conception of the proposed casino in downtown Lansing

The Lansing city council has plenty of questions about a plan that could bring a quarter billion dollar casino project to downtown.   The council was briefed on the legal agreement Monday.    

An Upper Peninsula tribe and a developer have already signed off on a deal that outlines revenue sharing,  property transfers and other economic development issues.

But councilwoman Carol Wood says there are several issues that aren’t spelled out in the lengthy agreement.

“There’s a lot of questions that are still out there that we need additional information on that I’m not sure even the (mayor’s office) has it at this point," says Wood. 

 Several council members expressed a desire to clarify or change some language in the legal agreement.  But any changes appear unlikely. 

Attorney Alan Wallacehelped explain the deal to the city council. 

 “It’s been signed by the developer.  It’s been signed by the tribe.  It’s my understanding that…the agreement that’s before the council will not be changed," says Wallace. 

The Lansing city council is expected to hold 2 community meetings on the casino deal in the coming weeks.  The council will vote on the deal by the end of March.

 After that, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indianswill request approval from the federal government for the tribe to acquire the land for a casino.    That is expected to spark a legal fight from other tribes that operate casinos in Michigan. 

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe already operates five casinos in the Upper Peninsula and previously owned the Greektown casino in Detroit.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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