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Landclaim Settlement – More Details

Agreement Would End Historic Dispute and Protect Central New York Landowners Governor George E. Pataki today announced that – after decades of litigation – an agreement has been reached between the State and the Cayuga Nation of New York (“Nation”) to settle the Cayuga Indian land claim, develop a Class III gaming facility in the Catskills and establish price parity between Cayuga and non-Cayuga vendors. The Governor and Nation Representative Timothy Twoguns signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding which will eventually be incorporated into a formal and binding Settlement Agreement to which the United States, the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma and the counties of Seneca and Cayuga may also become parties.”This agreement between the State and Cayuga Nation represents an historic opportunity to settle a dispute that has, for far too long, caused unrest and uncertainty for the people of the Finger Lakes region and Central New York,” Governor Pataki said. “Today, we are taking an important first step toward achieving a formal, binding settlement that will fully and finally protect homeowners within the land claim area.”The agreement would also allow us to move forward with plans to establish the first of three new casinos in the Catskills, which would create thousands of new jobs and provide a tremendous boost to the region’s economy,” Governor Pataki said. “Our agreement would also establish price parity between Cayuga and non-Cayuga vendors, which clearly shows that we can achieve parity with the Indian nations in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation.”Cayuga Nation Representative, Timothy Twoguns, said, “The Cayuga Nation is gratified that 24 years of litigation is drawing to a successful conclusion. This settlement will enable the Cayuga people to establish itself in its traditional lands, which it lost more than 200 years ago. It will also provide us with damages for our long displacement, and financial security. We look forward to establishing excellent relations with our neighbors.” The terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the State and the Cayuga Nation include: The State will pay to the Nation the sum of $247,911,999.42 in fourteen (14) equal annual installments beginning on January 1, 2007. Federal legislation shall be sought to ratify all transactions by which the State or others obtained land from the Cayugas within the 64,015 acre area set aside for the use of the Cayugas in the 1789 Treaty between the State and the Cayugas and, further, to extinguish all Indian claims to land within the Cayuga aboriginal area. The federal legislation shall also provide that the Nation may acquire and exercise sovereignty on up to a maximum of 10,000 acres of land located within the Claim Area, which will be referred to as “Cayuga Treaty Land.” All purchases of land shall be made voluntarily from willing sellers. Additional lands over which the Nation may exercise sovereignty may be added with the approval of the county in which the lands are located. In order to mitigate the economic impact on the Counties of removing Cayuga Treaty Land from the real property tax rolls, the agreement provides for the State and Nation each to annually contribute the sum of $3 million for the benefit of the Counties. If such contributions do not cover any and all real property tax losses resulting from the existence of Cayuga Treaty Lands, the State shall make up the shortfall to the Counties. The Nation will negotiate with appropriate local government authorities for the provision of fire, police and other municipal services, and other appropriate local issues, on a mutually satisfactory basis. The State and Nation will negotiate a tax parity compact for all sales by Nation vendors of alcohol, cigarettes, gasoline and other retail products and services to non-Indians on Cayuga Treaty Land. The Nation will adopt and enforce building codes for all construction on Cayuga Treaty Land which shall be no less stringent than the standards set forth in the International Building Code. Federal environmental laws and regulations will apply on Cayuga Treaty Land, and the Nation may adopt and enforce environmental standards no less stringent than the applicable federal standards. The State has also agreed to negotiate and enter into a gaming compact with the Nation, which will authorize the Nation to operate a Class III gaming facility at the Monticello Raceway in Sullivan County once the subject land is taken into trust for the benefit of the Nation by the United States pursuant to the federal legislation. The Nation would also agree to cease any Class II gaming operations other than at its gaming facility in Monticello within two years after such Monticello facility begins operation, unless the county in which any Class II facility is located and the Nation otherwise agree. To implement the agreement the State and Nation have committed to work together to obtain all of the necessary approvals, including the appropriate state and federal legislation. It is the goal of the parties to obtain such approvals by September 30, 2004. ### Return to the 2004 Press ReleasesReturn to the Office of the Governor

 

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