Connecticut, tribes sue feds over stalled action on compact
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday the state and two federally recognized tribes are suing the federal government for failing to act on their revenue sharing agreement before a new casino can be built to compete with the MGM casino in Massachusetts.
The Democrat said the lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Department of Interior and Secretary Ryan Zinke by the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.
The federal agency did not act on the agreement changes, known as compact amendments, that Malloy reached with the tribes within 45 days of their submission, as legally required. The lawsuit contends the amendments should now be deemed as having been approved.
“The state of Connecticut over the years has maintained a longstanding partnership and compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations, and they employ thousands of Connecticut residents at their casinos,” Malloy said in a written statement. “State law requires that these compact amendments are in fact approved. That’s why I have asked the Attorney General to file this action.”
A request for comment from the Department of Interior was referred to the Department of Justice, which said it would review the lawsuit once it has been received.
Earlier this summer, the General Assembly approved the amended agreements, which are needed so the tribes can build a jointly-run satellite casino in East Windsor. The revised agreements ensure the new facility will not compromise the state’s current revenue-sharing arrangement with the tribes, who own Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun in southeastern Connecticut.
The tribes have said they need the new casino to compete with MGM’s facility in neighboring Springfield, Massachusetts, and protect jobs at their existing casinos.
“This is good news for eastern Connecticut, because there are more than 10,000 jobs in the region hanging in the balance with this federal decision,” said state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, referring to the lawsuit filed by the state and the tribes. “The federal government is now long past its deadline to act on the agreements that the representatives of the people of Connecticut have deemed vital to the health and prosperity of our state.”