Menominee Breaks Bad on Make-Good Promise

Menominee Back Off Promise to Compensate Other Tribes for Loses

(Oconomowoc, WI) The Menominee Tribe’s oft-trumpeted promise to compensate other tribes for losses in an effort to garner approval of the much-desired Kenosha casino project, is already being downplayed by key tribal leaders, a move that could leave taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions.

“The Menominee Tribe has made the repeated promise to make the tribes impacted by their desired Kenosha Casino ‘whole,” a promise that has become a key anthem of proponents,” said Brian J. Nemoir, Executive Director of Enough Already! WI, a coalition opposed to the expansion of off-reservation gaming.  “Before a shovel even touches the dirt, Menominee Tribal leaders are already backing-off their earlier grand promise to satisfy loses other tribes would experience if the off-reservation Kenosha Casino is built.”

 In a December 5, 2014 Wisconsin Eye interview, longtime Menominee Tribal Leader and Menominee-Kenosha Gaming Authority Chair Gary Besaw told Steve Walters that there are  ‘caveats’ to what the tribe will actually cover, and ‘that they may, or may not, be allowed to compensate the Potawatomi for any losses.’

 Steve Walters:            I’m trying to understand this. The Menominee, your nation, has offered to cover losses by the Potawatomi if the casino is approved, correct?

 Gary Besaw:               The caveat is we can only cover what legally can be covered.

 Steve Walters:            Let’s say your casino is approved and the Potawatomi have verified a loss of $20 million and you pay them only $10 million. The Governor’s letter seems to say the state taxpayers would have to make up the additional $10 million. Am I reading this right?

 Gary Besaw:               A couple of things. Number one, there is a distinct process that may or may not be allowed for the Menominee to cover the Potawatomi…but the IGRA does not allow a tribe with its…with its…revenue, to basically give it to another tribe…especially to make them whole in that sense.

 “Beesaw’s admission demonstrates the Menominee Tribe’s complete insincerity over the “make-good” offering,” said Nemoir.  “The Menominee Tribe and its partners have a long history of saying and doing anything to advance their casino, and to-date have only a record of indictments and failed efforts to show for it.”

 Beesaw’s cavalier comments demonstrate the tribe’s willingness to put Wisconsin Taxpayers at risk for hundreds of millions of dollars annually for violating existing gaming compacts as identified by Governor Walker

 Recently, Gov. Walker signed an amended Class III gaming with the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe which requires the state to compensate the Potawatomi Tribe for any losses incurred from a new Kenosha Casino.  The amendment is under 45 day review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

 “How can the state enter into a long term good-faith relationship with the Menominee Tribe by approving an off-reservation casino when the tribe is already willing to expose taxpayers by backtracking on repeated earlier promises?” 

 Enough Already! is an active coalition designed to inform the public of the potential off-reservation casino threats, and provide the common-sense opponents tools for engagement.  Early tools available for use by interested parties include the recently launched blog: