Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2001

Delawares, city meet about casino

May 10, 2001

Representatives from the Delaware Tribe of Indians and city of Basehor officials met last week to discuss the possibility of locating a casino and hotel near the city.

Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker and City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper met with Delaware Tribe of Indians Chief Dee Ketchum, Michael Pace, a member of the tribes' economic development committee and Fred Gillman of the Gillman Group of California the financier of the casino project.

Tribe officials were in town last week to look at various development sites in Leavenworth County.

At recent public meetings, the tribe has met resistance from both Basehor and Tonganoxie residents. In Tonganoxie, residents have started a petition campaign against the casino project.

"Apparently they were looking from Tonganoxie to the Wyandotte County line," Hooper said. "They even looked down toward Linwood and north toward Lansing, so they are looking at a pretty large area in this end of Leavenworth County. I think they would really like to be located towards the Basehor area."

Tribe members also wanted to meet with city officials to find out whether the city of Basehor would support the casino and if Hooker would support the project.

Hooker said his religious beliefs would prohibit him from being in favor of the casino in the area, but he would ultimately let the decision fall to the city council.

"I will not support or oppose the casino," Hooker said. "I will let the city council decide what they want to do."

At the meeting, tribe representatives said the city could expect anywhere from $3 to $5 million in contributions should the casino land near Basehor, Hooker said.

Those figures were based on survey results completed by a private firm hired by the tribe, Hooker said.

After looking at prospective sites, tribe officials went back to Oklahoma to make a decision on which site they want to pursue, Hooper said.

Basically, the meeting was an informational one, with both sides getting a feel for the intentions of the other, Hooper said.

The final decision as to whether the tribe can locate in Kansas belongs to Gov. Bill Graves. The tribe also could meet resistance from the state legislature because of the Delaware's non-indigenous status.

Before purchasing any land, the tribe would also need the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"They are going to try to locate somewhere in this county," Hooper said. "This was their old reservation area."

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