Judge Refuses to Allow Other Parties into Tribe Settlement with Lima

 

            Eastern Shawnee attorney Rob Roy Smith, of Seattle, said the tribe is looking to move forward and is waiting for the judge to give the final approval.”

 

Lima News, July 11, 2008

By Greg Sowinski | gsowinski@limanews.com

 

LIMAA judge’s order to not allow other parties to piggyback onto a settlement Lima has with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma moves the issue closer to a hearing before Lima City Council.

            Exactly when that happens depends on a few things.

            Lima Law Director Tony Geiger said Tuesday that City Council members made it clear Monday they will not make a decision on the settlement without hearing from the public. The next council meeting is July 23 and City Council members said they would not vote on the settlement at the hearing.

            Still, any decision on the next step for Lima depends on what the tribe does, Geiger said.

            The tribe’s options are to move forward with the settlement with Lima, call it quits, or look at other sites in the state, Geiger said.

            Eastern Shawnee attorney Rob Roy Smith, of Seattle, said the tribe is looking to move forward and is waiting for the judge to give the final approval.

            The judge has set a telephone pretrial conference for July 25.

            Besides the city of Lima, two private landowners, Lanny Durnell and the Knief family, were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

            The tribe has several agreements for possible locations for casinos and resorts including Lima. In Lima, the tribe could own a portion of Hover Park, located within the tribe’s ancestral lands and has an option on 40 acres owned by St. Rita’s Medical Center south of Interstate 75 and west of St. Johns Road at the state Route 65 interchange.

            Besides Lima, the tribe has land purchase agreements in Botkins, Monroe and Stark County, near Canal Fulton. Following the settlements with the governmental entities, the tribe has to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to have the land taken into trust before it can proceed with building casinos. That process is expected to be lengthy.

            A representative for Botkins could not be reached for comment Tuesday.