TOPEKA, Kansas – The United States Department of the Interior has rejected a request by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma to take land owned by the tribe near Park City into a federal trust under a law that would have allowed casino gaming on the parcel, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
For years, the tribe has sought federal approval for the project. In federal court litigation as well as before the Department of the Interior, Schmidt’s office has defended the state’s legal interests in not allowing the tribal casino.
In 2013, the federal district court ruled in favor of Kansas on the tribe’s request to have the Court force the Department of Interior to rule in its favor, but did direct the Department of the Interior to make a decision, one way or the other, on the tribe’s pending land-into-trust application. With its new decision to deny the land-into-trust application, the Department has done so.
“We think the Department of the Interior reached the correct legal conclusion in disallowing this land-into-trust application,” Schmidt said. “This decision is one more successful step in defending Kansas law, which does not allow a tribal casino in Sedgwick County. If there are later efforts by the tribe or others to contest the Department’s denial of the application, we will continue to vigorously defend our state’s legal interests.”
The Department notified the tribe of its decision in a letter dated July 3. A copy of the letter is attached in the link below.