UPDATE: Menominee meet with Governor, await decision - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Menominee meet with Governor, await decision on casino


MADISON (WKOW) -- Its an offer that can't be refused.  That's how the Menominee Tribe describes its final proposal for an $800 million Kenosha casino presented to Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) on Wednesday.

Menominee officials and their management partners from Hard Rock International tried to convince the Governor their plan meets his criteria for approval.

But they're clearly frustrated with the two tribes that still won't support the project.

Menominee Tribal Chair Craig Corn said he sent letters to the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes on Monday, asking for a meeting to present them with the same proposal.

"I got a letter back yesterday, email, from Forest County Potawatomi saying that they're not interested in talking and I have not heard back from Ho-Chunk," Corn told reporters after his meeting with the Governor.

Ho-Chunk officials believe there's nothing further to talk about, telling 27 news Wednesday afternoon that there is no Menominee proposal that would change their minds.

Corn says those tribes are not acting in the spirit of cooperation he'd like to see.

"That's what you're supposed to do as tribes, pick each other up and help each other out," said Corn.

The decision ultimately lies with Gov. Walker, but he has said repeatedly all of the tribes have to support the plan for him to approve it.  Chairman Corn made his case to the Governor that, legally, they already have.

"If you look at their compacts, specifically Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi, there's provisions in there, Ho-Chunk's for off-reservation and Forest County Potawatomi, their compact, there's specific language to Kenosha," said Corn, insinuating that each tribe's gaming compacts allow for off-reservation expansion for others.

John Greendeer, the Chair of the Ho-Chunk Nation, laughed at that assertion, saying it is beyond a liberal interpretation of the compacts.

But selling the Governor on the idea, may be the Menominee's last chance to get his approval.

"When they signed the compact amendments, they consented to Menominee coming to Kenosha," said Corn.

The Governor made no statements about today's meeting.  His staff would only acknowledge the meeting took place.  Gov. Walker is expected to make his decision by the end of the week.

Tribal officials would not discuss their next step should the Governor deny their request, but its presumed they will take legal action.


MADISON (WKOW) -- At a Wednesday news conference, representatives from the Menominee Nation said they had a good meeting with Governor Scott Walker earlier in the morning.

Menominee reps were joined by officials with Hard Rock International, which would operate the Menominee's proposed casino in Kenosha.  

Leaders from both groups said they told Gov. Walker they've met his criteria to approve the project. The three criteria are community support, approval from all of Wisconsin's other tribes, as well as no net increase in gambling in Wisconsin.

Walker's original deadline for meeting those criteria fell Tuesday, the same day Walker's administration announced a decision would instead come at the end of the week.

Menominee Chairman Craig Corn says the governor didn't indicate during the meeting whether he would approve the planned $800 million entertainment complex at the old Dairyland Greyhound dog track.

Both the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk nations have been opposed to the Kenosha casino, seemingly making it impossible for the Menominee to meet one of Walker's three criteria.

Corn said at Wednesday's news conference that he sent a letter on Monday to both the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk, but the Potawatami declined this latest offer and the Ho-Chunk have not responded. 

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is covering this story today and will have reports on 27 News at 5 and 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Officials with the Menominee Nation and Hard Rock International are making a final pitch to Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) Wednesday morning to get his approval for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha.

Gov. Walker has the sole decision-making authority on the Menominee's plan, which was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in August.

The Governor has consistently said that he would only approve a plan that had the backing of the local community, all of Wisconsin's other ten Native American tribes, and that resulted in no new net gaming for the state.

While Kenosha officials have shown strong support for the project, both the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes have objected to the casino, saying it would hurt their current casinos.  The Potawatomi owns a casino in Milwaukee, while the Ho-Chunk has casinos in Madison and Baraboo.

Gov. Walker originally set a firm deadline of October 22nd, but on Monday, extended that window until the end of this week.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is covering this story today and will have reports on 27 News at 5 and 6.


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