IRVING, N.Y. — The Seneca Nation announced Thursday that it's calling on New York State to give them more time to make the payments on the Nation's gaming contract with the state.
The Seneca Nation cited a letter sent to them by attorneys representing New York State requesting the Nation to make payments of money owed under the gaming compact for the periods of January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018 and January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2021. The state's letter stated the Seneca Nation agreed to make a payment no later than January 22, 2022.
The state is requesting the Seneca Nation make that payment by March 14, 2022, or "it intends to immediately undertake enforcement and collection efforts in respect of all amounts due under the judgment..."
“The NIGC’s [National Indian Gaming Commission] review, and the time needed to complete that review, is not a matter that the Seneca Nation can control. We have pressed, and continue to press, the agency for an update. We hope that an official report from NIGC will come soon,” said Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels in a released statement. “Rather than threatening aggressive action, the State should permit the federal agency responsible for overseeing Indian gaming issues the time it needs to complete its work.”
Pagels added, “Now is not the time for the State to revert to bullying and greed. We thought that chapter had hopefully ended and that a new day had dawned in Albany. We hope we are not wrong. We have seen what happens when New York acts like a government intent on eroding, ignoring and obliterating relationships with Native Nations and Native people.”
President Pagels is also asking the state to start discussion on an amended gaming compact with the Seneca Nation.
A spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul's office released the following statement in response:
The Seneca Nation has been obligated to make these payments since April 12, 2019. The State has patiently waited almost three years for the Nation to fulfill its obligation. It is now time for the State to protect its own interests. Governor Hochul looks forward to this matter being resolved soon and resuming discussions on a new compact.
You can read the Seneca Nation's full statement, along with the letter sent by New York State, in the embedded document below: