Kialegee casino appeal hangs in circuit court
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
10/10/12 at 8:27 AM
Read previous stories and key documents about the Kialegees’ planned casino.
OKMULGEE - Investors behind the stymied Red Clay Casino in Broken Arrow did not have much luck recently in getting the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to breathe new life into their court-defeated casino effort.
"Why would we consider taking over that disaster?" said National Council Speaker Sam Alexander. "They want to salvage a business disaster - a horrible business disaster."
The property owners, Marcella Giles and her sister Wynema Capps, partnered with the Kialegee Tribal Town in a proposal to operate a casino on their Muscogee (Creek) allotment off the Creek Turnpike in southeast Broken Arrow.
U.S. Judge Gregory Frizzell ruled in May that the tribal town lacks jurisdiction at the site. An appeal of his ruling, which prohibits further casino construction, is pending in the Tenth Circuit in Denver.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation was once a confederacy of tribal towns, whose members are Creeks. The Kialegees have less than 500 members.
Alexander said casino developers Luis Figueredo and Shane Rolls, both of Miami, Fla., brought the issue to National Council members and that it was defeated in committee late last month.
The first motion was to postpone the proposal which failed in a 5-4 vote. The second motion was to postpone the casino issue indefinitely, which passed in a 7-2 vote, Alexander said.
The seven voting to postpone indefinitely were Dode Barnett, Frank Coachman, David Hill, Robert Hufft, David Nichols, Darrell Proctor and Thomas Yahola.
The two council members wishing to hear the Broken Arrow casino proposal were Eddie LaGrone of the Muskogee District and Mark Randolph of the Wagoner/Rogers/Mayes District.
Randolph said Tuesday that he would rather not comment on the issue. He did note that he thought the issue will be brought back again.
Alexander said that he regrets the issue was ever brought to their attention.
"I remember when they said they didn't need anybody's approval, and now it seems they do," he said.
Alexander said the issue first arose before the Kialegees were involved in 2006 when Giles brought it to then Chief A.D. Ellis and the National Council.
"I got a short and sweet answer," Alexander said. "They weren't interested."
It was for business reasons. Their loan agreement for the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa required the tribe to not have another casino within 50 miles. River Spirit and the envisioned Red Clay Casino are only about 10 miles apart.
"Our gaming people from the start have said it would be competing with ourselves," Alexander said.
The Kialegee Tribal Town argued that it had shared jurisdiction at the southwest corner of Florence Street (111th Street) and Olive Avenue (129th East Avenue) where the casino construction was interrupted.
It erected a flag and signs saying that it had jurisdiction over the property.
"There was never a doubt in my mind who had jurisdiction out there," Alexander said. "They purported they could go anywhere in the Creek Nation and put out a flag. I never thought that for a second.
"They even try to tell me they're going to win the appeal. Yeah, sure you are. You talk about a gamble."
Original Print Headline: Tribal council cool to reviving casino bid
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
National Council Speaker Sam Alexander: Investors behind the Red Clay Casino in Broken Arrow "want to salvage a business disaster - a horrible business disaster," he said