IGA extended for another 90 days
It was voted to extend the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) executed by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority, the City of Kenosha, and the County of Kenosha for another 90 days at last night’s City Council Meeting. (The vote was 11 to 3, with alderpersons Theodore Ruffalo, G. John Ruffolo, and David Bogdala being the three dissenting voters.) Earlier in the evening, the Finance Committee had a tie vote (2 to 2) with no recommendation coming from the committee. (The two dissenters were Chairman David Bogdala and Theodore Ruffalo.) The Executive Committee of the County Board already approved a 90-day extension; it will go before the County Board tonight.
Eric Olson, the Director of the Kenosha Casino Project, Myrna Warrington, Vice Chair of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, and Bruce Pecore, legislative member, were in attendance at both meetings on Monday night. Olson explained the reasons for the extension: 1) Their law firm in Washington, D.C., suggested another sixty to ninety-day extension. They will be meeting with the county lawyer next week; 2) Next week on Monday, there will be a meeting with the tribal chairman and the Kenosha Gaming Authority; and 3) A financial statement/paper coming from the Mohegan Sun will be ready next week. This is a $1 billion operation.
At the Finance Committee meeting, it was mentioned that Kenosha’s unemployment is now 4% higher since the last vote was taken due to the closing of the Chrysler Engine Plant. Bogdala wanted to know, “What will change in 60 or 90 days?” Olson’s reply was we’ll have better information from the IGA. Bogdala said, “We keep playing this game. Don’t change the IGA, hoping it will be passed.” Olson stated that he’s “okay with the IGA,” and that no changes are needed.
Alderperson Ray Misner wanted to know about the two projects on the West Coast that were recently approved. Misner asked, “What are the differences and similarities between those two and our project?” Olson mentioned the distance from the reservation and the fact that the gaming facility is on the property are two factors that resemble our project. ”Plus,” Olson stated, “we feel we have local support.” Governor Walker has said that he’s waiting for Federal approval. Once that is obtained, he will get a consensus (consult with) other tribes. Of the 11 tribes, Olson stated that he felt that 8 would be supportive.
Misner also wanted to know what other alternatives we would have for the property besides the casino. “What are the long-term benefits for our citizens?” Misner stated that “he believes it’s a long shot.” He also stated that he’s lost a lot of confidence. Olson’s reply was that there is one alternate option on the land. If the Federal government approves it, and they get the financing, they will then take the land into trust and develop it. If they don’t, there are no other offers out there. Dairyland can sell the land to anyone else. “Right now,” Olson stated, “the purchase price is greater than $30 million.”
Bogdala also brought up the issue of the trust and 60th Street. “This is the fifth extension. Now, I’m hearing that it will happen. There are issues between the City and the County. Will we be back here again in 60 or 90 days?” Bogdala called upon Mark Molinaro, the Chairman of the Kenosha County Board, who happened to be in the audience on another agenda item. Molinaro confirmed the 90 day extension granted by the Executive Committee of the County Board. Bogdala stated that he was not in support.
Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia said that he would be in support of the extension. “The extension doesn’t cost us a penny. If it means creating jobs for the City and the County, we need them.”