Printer Friendly

BUFFALO BROTHERS RESPOND TO LEGISLATOR'S CALL FOR ST. CROIX CASINO INVESTIGATION

 TURTLE LAKE, Wis., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The management company for the St. Croix Casino released today through the casino a letter to State Rep. Harvey Stower that accuses him of ignoring "the underlying facts concerning the regulation of Indian gaming in Wisconsin, and the operation of the St. Croix Casino."
 The letter, signed by the attorney representing Buffalo Brothers Management, Inc., was issued in response to Stower's recent press releases and public statements calling for a state investigation of the St. Croix Casino and its relationship with Buffalo Brothers Management. The St. Croix Casino is owned by the St. Croix Band of Chippewa.
 In the letter, Buffalo Brothers Management challenged Stower's statement that he is "not being critical of the Tribe but of the casino's management company." The letter stated: "The management contract establishes a principal/agent relationship, with Buffalo Brothers being the agent of the Tribe, with the Tribe maintaining its proprietary interest in the casino. The fact that you criticize the management company in fact does reflect on the Tribe ... your denials notwithstanding, your attempts to 'investigate' the operation of this enterprise reveal a lack of deference and respect for the decisions of another governmental entity."
 Buffalo Brothers Management also challenged Stower's statement that "there is evidence that (Buffalo Brothers) may be out of line in fulfilling the compact and that the State Gaming Commission has mishandled its oversight in this case." The letter from Buffalo Brothers Management stated that Stower has "never offered one iota of evidence" to support his charge.
 In response to Stower's call for an investigation, the letter stated: "We are also mystified by exactly what process you think the Gaming Commission should be engaging in when reviewing Buffalo Brothers application for a gaming-related contractor certificate. Buffalo Brothers initially submitted an application for a gaming-related contractor certificate in January of 1992 and was granted a provisional certificate ... in March of 1992. In addition, Buffalo Brothers made another application for a gaming-related certificate in September of 1993, and the evaluation of that application is now pending before the Gaming Commission. Buffalo Brothers has been subjected to the most exacting scrutiny of virtually any regulated entity in Wisconsin."
 The letter concluded with a call for direct meetings between Stower, the Tribal Council and Buffalo Brothers, but also noted that "it may very well be that you have no interest in assuring that gaming facilities in Wisconsin are properly and fairly regulated. It would only seem proper that you approach the Tribe and its management company directly about these issues rather than airing them in press reports."


The text of the letter follows:

Rep. Harvey Stower 207 North, State Capitol Madison, WI 53702
 Dear Rep. Stower:
 Buffalo Brothers Management, Inc. (Buffalo Brothers) has received and reviewed your recent press releases and statements concerning the casino operations of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin (the Tribe). This letter constitutes Buffalo Brothers' response to your statements and comments.
 Over the past several weeks, you have made a variety of statements critical of the operation of the casino and of the conduct of my client. Apparently, none of the testimony that was offered by either the Tribal representatives or Buffalo Brothers at the Dec. 3, 1993 hearing of the Assembly Committee on Gambling oversight appears to have educated you with respect to the underlying facts concerning the regulation of Indian gaming in Wisconsin, and the operation of the St. Croix Casino in particular.
 First, several press accounts have reported that you are "not being critical of the Tribe but of the casino's management company, Buffalo Brothers." As we have indicated to you on several occasions, in particular at the Dec. 3 hearing, the management and operation of the St. Croix Casino is a joint effort of the Tribe and Buffalo Brothers. In fact, as you have already been told, each of the senior managers and all of the employees of that casino are Tribal employees, not employees of the management company. The management contract establishes a principal/agent relationship, with Buffalo Brothers being the agent of the Tribe, with the Tribe maintaining its proprietary interest in the casino. The fact that your criticize the management company in fact does reflect on the Tribe because the Tribe has selected Buffalo Brothers to provide management services for Tribal gaming operations.
 Second, you have been quoted as indicating that "there is evidence that (Buffalo Brothers) may be out of line in fulfilling the compact and that the State Gaming Commission has mishandled its oversight in this case." Nowhere do you mention what "evidence" there is that would lead you to such a conclusion, nor am I certain what the vague reference to "out of line in fulfilling the compact" means. The only thing I can for certain draw from your statement in this regard is that it is not intended as a compliment.
 The compacts between the various tribes and the State of Wisconsin establish the legal framework governing the conduct of Class III gaming in Wisconsin pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The compacts establish a wide variety of requirements for the conduct of gaming, from the requirement of security and financial audits to the mechanical and electronic integrity of various games. They also provide standards which govern the state's treatment of all vendors who have gaming-related contracts with the various tribes. Despite the many opportunities you have had to approach either the Tribe or Buffalo Brothers about any of the casino activities which you think may be "out of line" with the compact, you have never offered one iota of evidence to sustain your charge. We can only assume, therefore, that you are motivated by a desire other than the fair and impartial regulation of gaming in Wisconsin.
 Third, we are also mystified by exactly what process you think the Gaming Commission should be engaging in when reviewing Buffalo Brothers' application for a gaming-related contractor certificate. For your information, Buffalo Brothers initially submitted an application for a gaming-related contractor certificate in January of 1992 and was granted a provisional certificate by the former Wisconsin Lottery Board in March of 1992. In addition, Buffalo Brothers made another application for a gaming-related contractor certificate in September of 1993, and the evaluation of that application is now pending before the Gaming Commission. Further, and pursuant to the compact, a number of background investigations and security and financial audits have been conducted of the casino operations. Buffalo Brothers has been subjected to the most exacting scrutiny of virtually any regulated entity in Wisconsin. In fact, the various investigations of my client have cost my client in excess of $100,000. What additional scrutiny should be undertaken? As with other charges, you have simply made accusations and failed to follow up with particulars.
 Fourth, both the management contract that Buffalo Brothers has with the Tribe and the leasing arrangements between the Tribe and the various vendors, including Interstate Gaming Services, Inc., have been the subject of two court actions in Federal District Court in two states. Both Federal District Courts upheld the validity of these contractual arrangements. If you are interested in understanding the nature of the commercial relationship between my client, the various gaming equipment lessors and the Tribe, among other tribes, you should avail yourself of these Federal District Court opinions. These cases amply demonstrate the lawful and proper conduct of the operations at the St. Croix Casino.
 Unfortunately, your conduct has obscured the real success that has occurred at the St. Croix Casino. The Tribe is amassing millions of dollars in net worth, building equity in state-of-the-art facilities, and using its enterprises to further the educational and employment opportunities of its people. None of this would have been possible without the assistance and support of Buffalo Brothers. The Tribe has valued, and continues to value, the relationship it has with Buffalo Brothers. Your denials notwithstanding, your attempts to "investigate" the operation of this enterprise reveal a lack of deference and respect for the decisions of another governmental entity.
 It may very well be that you have no interest in assuring that gaming facilities in Wisconsin are properly and fairly regulated. Your statement that "if there can be such a thing as justice in any gambling enterprise, we should work to see that it is done" does not suggest that your approach to these issues is even-handed or fair-minded. If you have particular complaints or concerns with the operation of this enterprise, it would only seem proper that you approach the Tribe and its management company, Buffalo Brothers, directly about these issues rather than airing them in press reports. As the Tribal Council indicated in its Dec. 23, 1993 letter to you, we invite you to have direct contact with the Tribe and its management company to answer your questions.


Sincerely,

/s/ Raymond P. Taffora Michael, Best & Friedrich
 -0- 1/4/94
 /CONTACT: Joseph Hunt, 715-986-4777, for the St. Croix Casino/


CO: St. Croix Casino; Buffalo Brothers Management ST: Wisconsin IN: CNO SU:

AL-PB -- MN005 -- 6772 01/04/94 13:46 EST
COPYRIGHT 1994 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1994
Words:1512
Previous Article:AMERICA WEST OFFERS FARE SAVINGS UP TO 45 PERCENT OFF
Next Article:CONTINENTAL CUTS FARES FOR TRAVEL THROUGH APRIL 15
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters