Tribe may appeal ruling that clears way for casino vote
Posted: 6/29/2012 4:53:37 PM
Updated: 6/29/2012 5:28:37 PM
A judge Friday brushed aside a challenge by the Narragansett Indian Tribe, clearing the way for a November referendum on whether two Rhode Island video slot parlors can convert to full table games, while an attorney for the tribe says there may be an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
In a 25-page ruling, Superior Court Judge Melanie Thunberg rejected the challenge by the Narragansett Indian Tribe to enable voters in a referendum this November to decide whether Twin River in Lincoln, which already bills itself as a casino, and Newport Grand in Newport can convert to full casino operations.
Calling members of the tribe a "valorous people", Judge Thunberg ruled that she, "cannot declare that the Tribe has sustained its very heavy burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the (Casino) Act violates an identifiable aspect of the Rhode Island or United States Constitution.
Twin River Chairman John E. Taylor, Jr. welcomed the the ruling in a statement.
Were pleased that Judge Thunberg has allowed this important referendum question to appear on the ballot this November." He added that the judge, "places the question of table game expansion squarely in the hands of the Rhode Island public who can now determine the importance of preserving 900 existing jobs, the promise of some 650 new jobs and the protection of an invaluable annual revenue stream in the neighborhood of $270 million to the State.
William Devereaux, an attorney for the Narragansetts said that the tribe may wind up seeking an appeal before the state Supreme Court.
"I don't think it's the end for the tribe on this issue," Devereaux said. "I will be talking to the Chief Sachem... in terms of what the tribe's decision will be. But, I assume that he would want to have it heard by the Supreme Court."
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