The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation applied for the right to create a casino in the state of Connecticut and were seemingly approved only to later find out an error was made and they are not approved. The tribe feels the approval is valid and wants to go forward with plans. However, Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, feels otherwise.
Merrill reported on Wednesday that the tribe does not have the legal right to create a casino in the state, that the error does not mean the tribe can move forward with their plans. William Silk is the staff attorney for Merrill who stated that the Secretary of States has no authority to confer the legality of the applicant’s state purpose but has the authority to accept the filing of documents that meet the ministerial statutory filing elements that are called for under the authorizing statutes in regards to the formation of legal entities.
Last week, Richard Velky, the Chief of the Schaghticoke Tribe sent a letter to Merrill’s office, stating the tribe’s intention to build a casino was clear on their application. Velky pointed out that the tribe abided by the law, filling out a complete application to develop a commercial casino in the state. Approval was granted for the application to create the business entity under the Special Act 15-7, according to Velky.
Despite Velky’s beliefs, the Schaghitcoke Tribe is not federally recognized so therefore they do not have the right to create a casino based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In regards to Special Act 15-7, this specifically applies to the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegan Tribal Nation.
Silk further stated that the articles of organization will stay on public record but the error by the Secretary in filing the documents does not confer the legality of the applicant’s purpose stated on the application or gives authorization to the exercising of the asserted rights under the Special Act 15-7.
Update 2-11-2016 pm: In a previous version of this article the headline referred to the NY Secretary of State’s office. We apologize if this caused our readers any confusion.