Casino proposal surprises Broken Arrow officials
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 08, 2012
12/08/12 at 9:04 AM
A Saturday Tulsa World story misspelled the name of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. This story has been corrected.
Broken Arrow: Read previous stories related to Broken Arrow and get contact information for Broken Arrow officials.
Find continuing coverage: Read previous stories and key documents about the proposed casino.
BROKEN ARROW - City officials were caught off guard by news of a developer's proposal to resume building a controversial Indian casino, Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond said.
"We were blindsided," he said. "I don't think they see us as having any involvement in it, so they didn't bother to notify us."
The Florida-based Red Clay Group has proposed completing construction of the partially built Red Clay Casino at the southwest corner of Florence Street (111th Street) and Olive Avenue (129th East Avenue) and selling it to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation for $1.
The group's original plan called for ownership by the Kialegee Tribal Town, but construction was halted in May after a federal judge ruled that the five-acre site - a Creek Nation allotment - was not under Kialegee jurisdiction.
Thurmond said he learned of the proposal from a Tulsa World story Friday.
"It would be nice if they (the Red Clay Group) informed us," he said. "The (city) staff is trying to learn everything they can about it at this point and there's not really anything else we can say about it until we find out what's going on."
Red Clay Group developer Luis Figueredo did not return calls Thursday and Friday to the Tulsa World.
The group's proposal would give the Creeks a 70 percent cut of the gaming revenues - estimated at up to $25 million a year - with no investment in return.
The land would have to be rented from owners Marcella Giles and Wynema Capps for $450,000 a year for 10 years, but a Creek official said the development group has offered to cover that out of its share of gaming revenue.
The group would reimburse the tribe if the owners choose to sell it the five-acre site after the lease period.
The proposal is expected to be presented to a tribal committee in the next week and would go to the tribe's National Council for consideration at its Dec. 15 meeting.
Thurmond said the city will follow the proceedings closely.
The City Council previously issued a statement opposing the casino and is expected to maintain that stance, he said.
The site is in a largely rural area across 111th Street from Tulsa Technology Center's Broken Arrow campus. A neighborhood and a church are about a quarter-mile north.
"I just think it's not a good place for a casino," Thurmond said.
Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming, a group formed to oppose the casino, plans to submit a 10,000-signature petition against the proposal to the Creek National Council if it passes committee, spokesman Jared Cawley said.
Original Print Headline: Casino proposal surprises BA
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond: He says the developer did not bother to notify city officials of the offer