A spokesman for one of the sides in the dispute over the Meskwaki Casino says an opinion by a state agency strengthens their position. Eric Woolsen represents the council of elected leaders who’re in a dispute over the operation of the casino with a council appointed by the hereditary chief. Woolson says the state has indicated it will not open negotiations for a new Meskwaki gambling compact with the hereditary appointed council led by Homer Bear Junior.He says the State Department of Inspections and Appeals wanted to remain neutral in the case, but is now making it very clear that the Homer Bear group does not represent the tribe, and they will not negotiate with them. Federal officials shut down the casino May 23rd after the Homer Bear group took over its operation. Woolson says the state appeals opinion backs up that decision. He says if the Homer Bear group would step aside until a new constitutional election in October, the casino could be re-opened and 13-hundred people could go back to work. Woolson says efforts continue to get the casino open.He says court-ordered mediation is ongoing, but he says a gag order issued by the court prevents him from saying much about it. Woolson says it’s tough to know if that mediation will lead to the casino re-opening before the October election. The casino was pulling down three million dollars a week before it closed.
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