Gov. Cuomo warns Seneca tribe: I will “bid out your area” if dispute isn’t settled

andrew_cuomoNew York governor Andrew Cuomo is “very serious” about his plans to put a state-owned casino in Niagara Falls, thereby negating the Seneca Nation of Indians “exclusivity franchise” in Western New York unless the latter reaches an agreement with the state in arbitration.

Speaking to a group of reporters and editors from The Buffalo News, Cuomo reiterated his plans to bid out the area and allow a state-owned casino in what is normally Seneca territory.

The dispute between the state and the Seneca tribe stems from a variety of issues, including the latter’s refusal to pay almost $600 million revenues to the state from its casinos in Niagara Falls, Salamanca, and Buffalo. The tribe argues that it doesn’t need to fork over the money after it alleged that Albany broke their exclusivity rights when it intruded slot machines in numerous racinos in its area. But even if the Indian nation’s argument is valid, the state continues to stress that it should still pay the money owed to both the state and the three municipalities.

Now, Cuomo is putting the pressure on the Seneca tribe to finish its dispute with the state and has directed his latest warning shot on the tribe that if the issue isn’t settled, he won’t have any problems carrying out his promise to proceed with his plan to bid out gambling rights with or without a decision by an arbitration panel headed by Judith S. Kaye, former chief judge of New York State.

Cuomo is still holding out hope that a resolution can be done between the two sides, saying that he wants to resolve the situation quickly, “before the casino decision is made”, before adding that, a resolution is still in “everyone’s best interest”.

But if nothing comes about the dispute between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians, Cuomo has made no bones about what he intends to do. In his mind, it’s either get done with it, or we’ll move on with plans to bid out the area.

“That could come within two months,” Cuomo emphasized. “That has put the pressure on the situation.”