So why did Walker reject the deal? His Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch wrote a memorandum noting the Potawatomi tribe (which owns the Milwaukee casino and opposes the Kenosha casino) has threatened to sue the state and could gain $250 million. The tribe claims the state would have to repay its payment of $25 million per year [that their compact has been in effect] because its contract with the state guarantees no casino competitor within a 50 mile radius.So it seems like both the Potawatomi and the state would be in position to renegotiate the terms of that compact, which could be done along with approving the Kenosha casino.
But the Walker administration hired the Dykema Gossett law firm, under a contract that would pay up to $500,000, and its attorney R. Lance Boldrey concluded that if the Potowatomi won the dispute, it would then be ruled by an earlier 1998 contract, which means it would lose nearly 2,000 slot machines and could also open the door to getting its contract cancelled by 2019. “It does not appear to be in anyone’s best interest to pursue a remedy that results in a reversion to the 1998 compact,” Boldney wrote.
Did Huebsch follow that advice, given that Mr. Boldrey is a lawyer and Huebsch attended (but did not graduate) from fundie college Oral Roberts University? OF COURSE NOT! Funny how these guys don't have much regard to those with knowledge or facts.
But it gets better. Murphy then performs an actual act of journalism and goes to a law professor at Michigan State who specializes in Indian gaming law, telling the prof about the $275 million the Menominee have offered to back up any state litigation losses related to approving the Kenosha casino, and the professor goes "Seems like that would cover the risk." Which blows away Huebsch and Walker's claim that fear of taxpayer costs due to litigation is the reason they turned down the Kenosha casino, and also knocks down their main buck-passing excuse to try to pin blame on ex-Governor Jim Doyle for signing the compact with the Potawatomi to help balance the deficit-ridden budget Doyle inherited from Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum.
On the other side of the equation, Hard Rock International President Jim Allen says having enough money to make up those payments to the state once the Kenosha casino would open won't be a problem either, as Wisconsin's "skim" off of the potential casino's winnings is much less than they pay in neighboring states.
Adding in the $275 million bond, this makes this a $1.7 billion deal for the state. But can the casino generate enough revenue to pay for this?So why wouldn't the Walker Administration at least strongly consider the Menominee's offer, which would allow it to get out of the business of taking on the Bucks arena issue, and also allow for this casino project to get underway? It's not because this administration automatically shoots down the expansion of any gambling in this state. They would never have delayed their decision on the Kenosha casino for over a year to
That’s a slam dunk, noted Allen, whose company has long experience in the gaming industry, because the percentage of revenue charged casinos by Wisconsin is much lower than in other states. He noted that Hard Rock pays 42 percent of gaming revenues in Ohio and gaming companies in other states “pay 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, even 60 percent” of gaming revenues. Even with the payment for the NBA arena and $275 million bond included, he noted, “we would still be under 20 percent of revenues in what we pay to the state.”
It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that a couple hundred fundies in Bumblefuck parts of Iowa matter more to Scott Walker than the Wisconsinites that, you know, he gets paid by and is allegedly working for in his day job, is it? Noooo, it can't be that at all.
I remain ambivalent on the Bucks arena, as I still need to see its final site and how this all fits together. And given the state's bad budget, I'm very reticent to see any diversion of state funds into specific projects and out of the huge unmet needs this state has. This offer by the Menominee on the Bucks arena allowed the state budget to not be affected by this potential Milwaukee project, and the building of the casino would likely raise job and income tax revenues in the short-term (as it's being built) and long-term (as it opens up), which seems to be a win-win scenario.
As Murphy sums up in one part of his story, "This is one of the most astounding political decisions I’ve seen in more than three decades of covering state and local politics." And like a lot of things with the Fitzwalkerstanis, what seems dumb when the decision is made will likely prove to be a lot more foolish and costly over time.
With that, I'm onto braving the cold and questioning another bad Walker decision- the one that would cut the UW System's funding to balance his deficit-ridden budget, another decision that is being done for selfish reasons and will hurt the state's chances for economic growth.