Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Detroit loses appeal on casino licensing issue

Associated Press Writer

        DETROIT — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling that the city acted improperly when it preferentially granted casino licenses in 1997.

        The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that Detroit's ordinance regarding the casino-selection process violated the U.S. Constitution. The high court refused to hear Detroit's appeal.

        “The issue now is settled. What the city did was illegal,” said Conly Schulte, lawyer for the American Indian tribe which filed the lawsuit.

        But Morley Witus, an attorney representing Detroit, said that Supreme Court didn't rule on the constitutionality issue. “They just said that they don't want to take the case right now.”

        Both sides are awaiting the judge's written opinion on whether the bidding process for licenses will be reopened.

        The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has asked Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell to reopen the bidding process for Detroit's three casino licenses.

        Bell ruled Feb. 7 that the process used in 1997 was unconstitutional because it gave preference to Greektown Casino LLC and Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC, which are operating casinos. Detroit's third casino is MGM Grand Detroit Casino, owned by Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage.


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