Dispute between Cuomo administration and Seneca Nation is headed to arbitration


(WIVB) – The dispute between New York State and the Seneca Nation is heading to arbitration.

The Cuomo administration delivered an 11-page “demand for arbitration” to the Seneca Nation on Thursday.

The administration has accused the Seneca Nation of breaching their gaming compact with the state, which the state claims was renewed for seven years in Dec. 2016. The compact arranges for the Seneca Nation to make payments to the state in order for the state to grant the Seneca Nation exclusive rights to operate casinos.

The Seneca Nation made the last of their payments in the original 14-year contract earlier this year. The nation maintains that it’s following the terms of the gaming compact with the state, and that they’re no longer required to pay the state a portion of slot machine revenue.

Seneca Nation spokesperson Phil Pantano said Friday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has consistently refused to meet with Seneca Nation President Todd Gates.

Pantano added that it was not the Seneca Nation’s preference to put the issue before an arbitration panel.

“The Seneca Nation is not intimidated,” Pantano said. “The Nation will commit its resources to defending the agreement we made, which the state now wishes to disavow.”

Alphonso David, Counsel to Gov. Cuomo, said that it would be inappropriate for the governor to meet with the Seneca Nation due to a criminal investigation into the Seneca Nation that started over a year ago.

“It would be inappropriate for the governor to meet with the Seneca Nation until the matter is resolved by the Erie County District Attorney,” David said.

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