BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - There is a new controversy involving the Buffalo Creek Casino, as a Buffalo Common Council member stirs the pot.
It's doesn't sound like construction is stopping anytime soon. But one councilman, who was against the casino from the start, claims broken promises by the Senecas mean the city should get out of its contract.
Common Council member Michael LoCurto voted in 2006 against selling land to the Seneca Nation to build a new luxury casino in downtown Buffalo. And now he wants current construction halted.
"To put simply, the Senecas just haven't lived up to the agreement they signed with the city in 2006," LoCurto argued.
The councilman says the Senecas promised a destination casino that would draw in tourists. He claims instead, they are building a scaled-down version aimed just for local residents.
"Which will just take money out of the community and provide no economic benefit," LoCurto contends.
The $130 million casino project is scaled down because of the economy, but will still be state-of-the-art, the Senecas say.
LoCurto says the Seneca also promised millions in infrastructure improvements and local marketing, and claims they aren't going to provide as many jobs as promised.
"Were you looking for something they weren't living up to, in order to get them to stop this?" News 4 reporter Lou Raguse asked.
"Well they didn't live up to it. I wasn't looking for anything. They made commitments to the city and they didn't do it," LoCurto responded.
Construction crews are making progress on the new casino. The councilman wants to cut off water and sewer to the site and begin the process of rescinding the contract.
Common Council President Richard Fontana calls the notion of shutting off utilities to the construction site ridiculous. Fontana says any disputes with the Senecas over the contract they signed with the city will be handled at the negotiating table.
Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter released a statement, saying in part, "Why would this legislator suggest that the answer to not enough jobs on a project is to halt it altogether?"
As for the Buffalo casino, Councilman LoCurto submitted the resolution. The council will likely consider it next week. And if they pass it, it would take about 45 days to cut off the utilities to the construction site.
But again, other council members say it is unlikely to pass.
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