Schaghitcoke Tribal Nation Chief Richard Velky is troubled by media reports regarding Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s rejection of the tribe’s new business registration.
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation applied for limited liability corporation status under Special Act 15-7, which allowed the Mohegan Tribal Nation and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to explore construction of a third casino. The state rejected a similar application from MGM Resorts International.
Merrill’s office issued a statement Wednesday admitting it mistakenly granted the application.
“In this case it looks like the application was received in error,” Merrill said.
She said the application met the standard to create an LLC, “but but not the requirements of the Special Act.”
Velky said the purpose of creating the entity was clear on its application. It said the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation “seeks, through this new LLC, to develop a casino in Connecticut pursuant to Special Act 15-7.”
Merrill’s office had no comment Thursday on Velky’s letter.
Velky said the tribe will continue its pursuit to build a casino.
“The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation objects to any process that reserves the ability to develop a third casino in Connecticut to any particular tribes or other groups,” he wrote. “We therefore oppose any attempt to revoke the registration issued yesterday, and we intend to continue to proceed under Special Act 15-7.”
But U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that because the Schaghticokes are not a federally recognized tribe, they can’t build a casino.
“The Schaghticokes are not federally recognized and therefore do not have authority to pursue a casino under federal law,” Blumenthal said Wednesday. “Their reliance on Special Act 15-7 seems misplaced as that state legislative act limits the operation of the third casino to a business entity controlled by the two federally recognized Tribes in Connecticut — the Mashantuckets and the Mohegans.”
It’s likely the matter could end up in court at some point in the future. MGM Resorts International filed a lawsuit last year against state officials in federal court after the state rejected its application to build a casino under Special Act 15-7.