An arbitration panel ordered New York tribe Seneca Nation to pay US$255 million to the state over a revenue-sharing dispute.
US.- An arbitration panel has ruled against the Seneca Nation, which will have to pay US$255 million. The panel ordered the New York tribe to turn the money from lapsed casino revenue-sharing proceeds to the state.
The panel began assessing the case in March after both parties failed to reach an agreement.
In 2017, the tribe argued that a drafting omission had released them from their obligation to pay the revenue-sharing agreement. That moved them to stop paying the state’s share from the three gaming venues it operates in western New York.
However, the state wanted them to continue to pay, which is why the arbitration began. After the panel ruled against the tribe, they didn’t sign off on the order. Senecas might take some additional legal moves to keep the dispute going.
“They had said they would honor the arbitration decision,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “They signed a contract saying they would honor the arbitration decision. What does that mean? Apparently not much.”
An arbitration panel had already ruled that the tribe wrongly stopped the agreement. In a 2-1 decision, they said the New York tribe had to pay over US$100 million, but the dispute remained.
According to Kevin Washburn, a University of New Mexico Law School professor, former Interior Department official and the member of the panel chosen by the tribe (voted against), the decision “rewrites the Compact in a way that harms the Nation and provides an unjustified windfall to the State.”