Published On: Wed, Mar 24th, 2010
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Protest filed on Cherokee County Class II Gaming

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF

 Two Tribal Council members are opposed to the way a resolution was passed that brought the Tribe one step closer to opening a Class II gaming facility in Cherokee County.  Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy and Painttown Rep. Terri Henry filed an official protest on Wednesday, March 24  against Res. 190 (2010) which authorizes the TBE/TCGE Joint Class II Committee “to continue the planning and negotiating, and the seeking of necessary bank approvals and to secure all necessary bank loans” for such a gaming facility.

“I did vote in support of the proposal because I do support development of some type of industry in Cherokee County,” Rep. Henry writes in a letter to the One Feather.  “However, after going through the events and finally coming out from under the pressure of the situation, I regret casting that vote.  My regret stems from how corrupt that closed session made me feel.” 
 

Rep. McCoy, who left in protest the day of the original proceedings and did not vote on the issue, said many of her questions about the project are still unanswered.  “I am for all economic projects for our Tribal members, but I just don’t think this is the time for us to do it,” she wrote in a letter to the One Feather.  “I think we owe too much on the current gaming expansion and other projects this administration has surprised us with and we need to pay down the debt just to be safe.” 
 

Both ladies have issues with the way the legislation was passed.  Their protest alleges, “despite the arguments for an open discussion, Tribal Council voted to hold the discussion in closed session, and the Resolution did not contain the identity of the land tract or plat numbers, land owner names, and nor did it include the price of the land and the total acreage…” 

In their protest, they go on to request that all future gaming discussions be held in open meetings. 
 

Principal Chief Michell Hicks commented, “As Principal Chief, it is my responsibility to explore all financial options available to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.  This proposed gaming facility in Cherokee County could potentially increase the tribal budget by millions of dollars and I will do everything in my power to explore this financial option for the betterment of our people and our Tribe.  There is a committee researching this option to ensure this is a sound and beneficial opportunity for the Eastern Band.”

Text of the protest and the original legislation. Please click to enlarge.

Norma Moss, chairperson of the TCGE Board, stated, “The TCGE Board of Advisors acted and responded to the request of Tribal Government.” 

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