Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2001

Basehor hears Delaware casino proposal

March 15, 2001

Representatives from the Delaware Tribe of Indians gave a presentation last Thursday to Basehor residents and the City Council regarding the possibility of building a casino and hotel in the Basehor area.

Chief Dee Ketchum, who is the official negotiator for the casino project, and Michael Pace, member of the tribe's financial committee, gave the presentation.

The tribe first met with city officials Feb. 28 for an informal meeting. At that meeting tribe gave city officials informational packets and a community meeting was scheduled.

The Delaware tribe has also recently spoken to the Leavenworth County Commissioners and the Tonganoxie City Council regarding the casino and hotel project.

The Edwardsville City Council also has contacted the tribe to discuss the idea of bringing the casino project to Wyandotte County. The tribe told the council they had no interest in building a casino on land that's under the rights of the Wyandotte tribe.

On Thursday, the Delaware tribe also explained why it would not look at the Woodlands area for a casino.

"There is a right and wrong in that," Ketchum said. "We have not talked to them about that possibility and we would not want to interfere with their economic development. We just respect the right of the Wyandotte tribe."

Pace said the goal of the casino project is to generate revenue for tribe services and the best way to do that is through gaming.

"What we are interested in is producing revenue for our own services and we can do this through economic development," Pace said. "But we also want to make this a good fit wherever we go. We want to make sure the local community benefits from this just as well as we do."

Some of the benefits Pace listed were new jobs to the community and a percentage of the revenue the casino would generate being given to other city entities.

"We are willing to offer things that you don't find in the private sector." Pace said. "In the private sector they want all these free-bees. When we come in we are already funded, we don't need anything from the community, but we are willing to share with you the revenue that we are going to gather from all this."

According to a packet handed out on Thursday night, the casino project is funded through the Gillmann Group of San Diego. The Gillmann Group was selected through a firm that included a year-long search of companies. The Gillmann Group has a line of credit that has already been approved for the casino project, Ketchum said.

Pace said the Gillmann Group would receive 20 percent of the revenue from the casino and the other 80 percent would go to the tribe.

The tribe representatives did not want to address the issue of morality in gaming at the meeting, however, Ketchum said he thought the accountability of the kids in the area belong to the parents, not the gaming industry.

"My particular feeling is that the responsibility of the kids in their formidable years belongs to the mother and father," Ketchum said. "It is not an industry's responsibility of how that child is raised."

Rose Nemchek, a teacher at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, said she has seen the effects of a casino first-hand.

"You just can't guarantee that the community would not have problems with the elements that come with a casino," Nemchek said. "I lived in Mississippi. Before they got casinos, there were two gamblers anonymous groups. Now, there are over 20."

"I know that everything sounds good, but you just have to consider the extras that the casino brings and it's not always a positive thing," Nemchek said.

There was no official decision made at the meeting and no time for when, and if, a decision will be made.

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