A federal court has been asked by Connecticut officials to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. Chief Richard Velky says they are challenging the state law enacted last year allowing the two federally recognized tribes to open a third casino, jointly, on non-tribal land.
The Schaghticokes claim the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. and state constitutions. MGM, which is building a casino in nearby Massachusetts is providing financial support for the Schaghticoke's suit. That company has also filed a similar lawsuit. The state's motion, filed Monday according to the New London Day, is now pending.
The Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans are seeking to open a casino to compete with the MGM one opening in Springfield, though no site has been selected.
Velky issued the following statement Monday night:
“Today's motion to dismiss is just the latest instance in a long history of the state’s denial of fairness and justice to the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. Rather than address STN’s complaint on the merits, the state raises a series of procedural technicalities, all of which lack merit. The idea that a state-recognized tribe lacks standing to challenge a law that specifically excludes it in favor of two other named tribes is contrary to fundamental principles of fairness, equal protection and the right of everyone to have their day in court. We look forward to ours."