Kenosha Casino Talking Points
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There Are Few Details
- Kenosha Mayor Antaramian, County Executive Kerkman, and their legal experts have been pushing forward IGAs for the proposed casino that lack critical detail, and they are promoting a false narrative about the need for immediate approval.
- City and County officials have repeatedly stated that the Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) for the Casino have not been rushed or conducted in secret.
- Just a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday, the agreements were before the City Council and County Board of Supervisors for passage, and due to City and County officials and public outcry regarding the lack of detail and the rush to approve were tabled until January 2024.
- Both the City and the County’s IGAs lack detail and contain several “TBD” (to be determined) placeholders.
- The Menominee Tribe and their attorney have publicly stated multiple times that the traffic studies and economic/market studies are in the process of being finalized. These include important details that will impact Kenosha residents. Both the City and the County should delay action on the casino until these studies are published, and experts have provided necessary recommendations to be included in the IGAs.
- Both Kenosha City and County IGAs lack any details about what the Tribes are proposing to build – no internal or external renderings, no landscaping details. It’s just a box of 1,500 slots with 150 rooms and a 2,000 space parking lot. There is no mention of a hotel, music venue or Hard Rock restaurant. Even Edward Tracy, CEO of Hard Rock Asia, admitted that Hard Rock probably won’t build a Hard Rock Live and music venue in Kenosha (start 4:3:30 to 4:6:08).
- The IGAs only include the Menominee Tribe even though the Seminole Tribe of Florida is the driving force and managing partner in the casino plan.
Why the Rush to Approve the Intergovernmental Agreements?
- Despite statements to the contrary by the Mayor, County Executive and Menominee representatives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs says there is no need for the city or county to rush approval of an intergovernmental agreement with the Menominee Tribe.
- In response to an inquiry from County Supervisor Laura Belsky, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has confirmed there are no deadlines for the intergovernmental agreements to be approved for the proposed Kenosha Casino,
- Should either the City or the County or both oppose the casino and choose not to enter into an IGA, it would weaken the tribe’s application to the BIA.
What Can Go Wrong?
- The few details we have indicate that the Tribes do not need 60 acres for a 1,500 box of slots – they only need 30 acres. Placing all of the 60 acres into trust can lead to a future disaster. One such disaster is currently unfolding in Northern Wisconsin with two tribes who have used their sovereign status to block “access to private properties, levied unreasonable fees on local municipalities and are causing skyrocketing property taxes due to their actions.”
- The Lac du Flambeau has been battling with the town of Lac du Flambeau over easement payments resulting in the closure of roads running through tribal lands. The Town will now have to ask voters to approve an increased property tax levy to make the easement payments.
- Traffic at the proposed Casino site is already a problem. It’s not difficult to imagine how messy it gets with 2,000 additional cars running through there daily. A future access dispute could result in years of costly litigation.