Tuesday, Nov. 13 — In response to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s lawsuit to stop their casino project in Lansing, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.
The request was filed on Monday with U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker in federal district court in Grand Rapids. The Sault Tribe says Schuette’s lawsuit is baseless.
“The essence of our motion is this: because the State’s lawsuit is utterly without merit, it should be dismissed and dismissed quickly,” Sault Tribe Chairman Aaron Payment said in a statement.
The tribe recently purchased a $280,000 parcel of land from the city at the corner of Cedar Street and Michigan Avenue next to the Lansing Center. The tribe hopes to petition the federal government to take the land into a trust to build the casino.
Schuette is trying to block the project with a lawsuit, saying it violates the Sault Tribe’s gaming compact with the state.
Despite the lawsuit, the tribe and the city plan to move forward with the $245 million, 125-square-foot casino. The casino would create 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs, according city and tribal officials. Revenue from the casino would fund the Lansing Promise, which would fund four years of college tuition for Lansing School District graduates.