Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Chairman Ronald Corn Sr. today issued the following statement regarding a new Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) analysis that concludes the state’s potential liability in approving a proposed Kenosha casino and destination entertainment center is significantly less after adoption of a 2018 amendment to the Forest County Potawatomi Community gaming compact:
“This new LRB analysis offers more reasons to support and approve the Menominee’s partnership with Hard Rock International for a proposed Kenosha casino and destination entertainment center. As the LRB analysis states, the financial risk in greenlighting this project is significantly less than it was in 2015, and the benefits to the state, to Kenosha, and to the Menominee are considerable.
“The 2018 amendment makes clear that under no circumstances is the state required to refund any payments to Potawatomi. The bottom line in the LRB report is that the financial risk to the state has been greatly reduced, and we applaud the bipartisan efforts of Senator Wanggaard and Senator Wirch for working together to bring attention to this new disclosure. The Forest County Potawatomi Community had claimed in a 2015 federal lawsuit that the state would need to refund to them an estimated $243 million if the Kenosha project was approved, but that is no longer the case.
“If approved, the Kenosha casino will help attract more visitors to Kenosha who will spend more money locally, help create more jobs, and make Kenosha a destination to enjoy big name entertainment. The Menominee project in partnership with Hard Rock will be good for both the City and County of Kenosha, and the community overwhelmingly supports the project.
“It’s also important to point out that the LRB report highlights the reasons this project is so important to the Menominee. As one of the largest and poorest tribes in Wisconsin, the LRB analysis notes that our people regularly endure the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in the state as well as the lowest ratings of health outcomes. Our goal for this major economic development and tourism destination project is to invest in improving
and expanding access for our tribal members to health care and education and devote more resources to fighting poverty, hunger, and unemployment on our reservation.
“This important report adds to the growing groundswell of support for the Kenosha casino and destination entertainment center project, and the Menominee looks forward to further discussions with the community and interested stakeholders who want to help get this project across the finish line.”