Ho Chunk Nation Accused Of Derailing Gaming Compact Talks

The state accused the Ho-Chunk Nation Friday of deliberately trying to scuttle negotiations over a new gaming compact so it can continue to withhold more than $ 60 million in payments.

The Department of Administration filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to appoint an arbitrator to settle the dispute. State officials say the tribe has derailed negotiations by rejecting arbitrators put forward by the state.

The two sides have been in talks since the state Supreme Court ruled 17 months ago that Governor Jim Doyle exceeded his authority in signing 2003 compacts with tribes expanding gambling at casinos in exchange for higher payments to the state.

The Ho-Chunk operate casinos in the Wisconsin Dells, Black River Falls, and Nekoosa. They have refused to pay the state 30 (m) million dollars last year and another 30 (m) million dollars this year, as provided under the original compact. The next payment, a percentage of its gaming revenue, is not due until June 30th of next year.

All other Indian tribes have made payments despite the court ruling but the Ho-Chunk argue the compact is no longer valid. They say they will not make a payment until a new deal is reached.