Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lobbying Costs Reported on Wisconsin Casino Project

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For the calendar year 2008, the three lobbyists retained to work on matters related to the proposed Menominee Indian casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin were paid an average of $14,000 per hour for five hours of work, totaling $70,001.

Included in that amount was $40,001 of lobbying fees that was paid for the period of July through December in which no actual lobbying work was reported on the project by Wisconsin Tribal Gaming Development LLC (formerly Kenesah Gaming Development LLC).

The U.S. Department of Interior rejected the proposed casino application in January. If the casino project was approved, the Mohegan Tribe would have developed the casino and managed it for seven years.

According to figures reported to the Wisconsin state ethics board, three lobbyists have been lobbying on behalf of the proposed casino since January 2007.

While the lobbying costs were $70,001 for the last calendar year, the lobbyists were paid $70,098 in calendar year 2007 for 79 hours of work.

The three registered lobbyists are Ray Carey, Richard Judge and Kathleen Walby.

The Menominee Tribe filed a lawsuit against Kempthorne and the Interior Department in November, when it appeared likely that the Tribe's land-into-trust application for the casino was slated to be denied.

The Menominee Tribe said it will try to overturn the project denial in court, contending that the federal government's guidelines are not legal.

The Mohegans have already invested at least $13 million in the Wisconsin casino project, according to Securities and Exchange Commission reports. That figure is likely to increase over time. Within days of the feds denying the Wisconsin project, Mohegan Tribal Council chairman Bruce Bozsum said the Tribe has set no limits as to when the project could become too costly for the Mohegan.

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