Dorr joins in support of casino in U.S. Supreme Court case
Dorr Township has joined Wayland Township in filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Gun Lake Casino, 1123 129th Ave. in Wayland. Several other local governments, including the City of Wayland and Martin, Leighton and Yankee Springs townships, have passed resolutions to join as well.
An amicus brief can be filed in appellate cases by those who are not a party to the case, but have a strong interest in the subject matter. They provide the court with additional information or arguments for consideration.
On the high court's docket for the season is an appeal filed by David Patchak, of Shelbyville, who argues that a 2014 law, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's separation of powers.
After a discussion of the matter at a Township Board meeting on Sept. 28, the resolution passed on a 4-3 vote, with Township Supervisor Jeff Miling, Treasurer Jim Martin and trustees Josh Otto and Dan Weber voting in favor of joining in support of the casino, and trustees John Tuinstra, Terri Rios and Clerk Debbie Sewers voting against the measure.
Martin said the township receives a $13,000 revenue-sharing check every six months from the casino. He pointed out that $10,000 is going to be needed for a police car, which could come from one of the revenue-sharing checks.
Tuinstra said he worked very hard to oppose the casino.
"Just because it's a way for us to get money doesn't mean it's a good idea, because a lot of harm comes from gambling," he said. He added he has nothing against the Gun Lake Tribe.
Rios gave an example of how family members are victimized when one family member gambles and goes so far into debt that they lose the house.
"I guess it goes by your own personal beliefs," Miling said, adding there are other ways people can lose money besides gambling.
Sewers said she appreciates the revenue-sharing the township receives from the Gun Lake Casino, but she will not support it in the U.S. Supreme Court case.
"I do not agree with signing a resolution to the Supreme Court of the United States concerning any pending lawsuit we are not directly involved with," Sewers said.
The Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, signed by President Barack Obama, effectively ended a string of challenges to the federal land trust that allowed the tribe to build the casino near the Bradley exit off U.S. 131.
Local communities benefiting from the state-mandated revenue-sharing are Allegan County, Wayland Union Schools, the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, the City of Wayland, and Dorr, Hopkins, Leighton, Martin, Wayland and Yankee Springs townships.
Spring revenue-sharing payments from the Gun Lake Tribe exceeded $6.7 million, with $3.7 million of that going to the state of Michigan, $1.8 million to the local revenue-sharing board, and $1.1 million going to GLIMI, an economic development entity that pursues non-gaming economic development and job creation.
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