Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls, NY
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Seneca Nation of Indians have been withholding cash from the casino host cities of Niagara Falls and Salamanca, because of a disagreement with New York State.
But now an arbitration process, nearly a year in the making, has been set up, and will begin next month. A three member arbitration panel has been selected.
The Senecas will have University of Arkansas Law School dean Stacy Leeds representing them. The state has tapped New York City lawyer Henry Gutman as its representative, and together the two agreed to have Former State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye will chair the panel.
The dispute began several years back when New York started advertising its state run racinos as "casinos", which the Seneca claimed violated its compact with the state to be the sole provider of casinos in Western New York.
The Senecas responded by withholding slot revenue it had agreed to pay the state, an amount now pegged at $460 million , and a portion of which it was then supposed to send to host communities in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca
Initially, the Senecas proposed sending the host community shares directly to those cities, an idea rejected by then Governor David Paterson.
News that the arbitration panel has been picked couldn't have come soon enough for Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster
His city is out $60 million and counting because of the dispute.