September 23, 2014

Walker seeks more time for Menominee casino decision

Governor Scott Walker’s administration is asking the federal government for six additional months, to make a decision on a proposed tribal casino to be located in Kenosha. Walker and Menominee Tribal Chair Laurie Boivin sent a letter to Kevin Washburn, U.S. Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs. If granted, the requested 180-day extension would give Walker until February of 2105 to approve or reject the casino-hotel project – well after the November election for governor.

The letter from Walker and Boivin states that Walker administration officials “have spent considerable time and effort engaging in discussions with various tribal governments.” The letter also notes that the governor’s office hired outside legal counsel for an independent economic analysis of the project in December, a process which will require more time.

READ: Walker, Boivin letter (PDF)

“We are gathering the necessary data so Governor Walker can make an informed decision on the proposed Kenosha casino,” said a press release from Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, who recommended the extension.

The Menominee Tribe is proposing an $800 million casino and hotel complex on the site of the long-closed Dairyland greyhound racetrack. Their plan, which was given federal approval last year, has drawn the opposition of the Ho-Chunk and Forest County Potawatomi tribes, which operate the state’s most profitable casinos. The Menominee are partnered with Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Florida-based Seminole tribe, to develop and manage the Kenosha casino.