NY lawmaker wants Seneca casino deal scrapped

TAGs: buffalo, Casino News, michael locurto, New York, seneca indian nation tribe

Seneca casino-rendering

A rendering of the planned casino property

Trouble is brewing in Buffalo, New York after a local lawmaker, Councilman Michael LoCurto is trying to drum up support for a resolution to rescind a contract with the Seneca Indian Nation tribe for allegedly breaching a 2006 contract it had with the city.

According to LoCurto, the Seneca Indian Nation tribe initially proposed to build a $330 million casino and hotel complex that would be big enough to create over 1,000 employment opportunities for local residents. But now that the proposed casino has been scaled down to “just” a $130 million project, LoCurto is calling foul, arguing that this new proposal won’t open up as many jobs as the western New York tribe had initially promised.

It was sold as this big economic development engine,” LoCurto said. “It was going to create a thousand jobs and bring people in from all over the Northeast.” But now that the proposed casino has been massively scaled down, LoCurto is looking at drumming up enough support to have Seneca’s casino deal with the city rescinded.

Needless to say, LoCurto’s campaign was heard by Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter, who in response, released a statement defending the casino’s new proposal and the resulting 500 jobs – half of what was initially promised – it would generate.

“Why would this legislator suggest that the answer to not enough jobs on a project is to halt it altogether?” Porter asked, before adding that the site where the casino – Buffalo Creek Casino, as it’s being called – is sovereign territory.

“What we do on that land and when is the choice of the Seneca Nation, its council and Seneca Gaming Corp.,” Porter added.

While LoCurto’s proposal was met with support from those against putting up a casino on the site, the Common Council President Richard Fontana appeared to possess the coolest head in the picture, saying that this dispute shouldn’t be settled with back-biting but through negotiations.  Nevertheless, the council will hear out LoCurto’s proposed resolution, albeit at a yet to be determined time.



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