New York tribe seeks $3 billion from Harrah’s Entertainment

A Delaware-based trust is seeking to collect nearly $3 billion in tribal court judgments and interest from Harrah’s Entertainment resulting from a default judgment awarded to members of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe six years ago.

The Catskill Litigation Trust announced Tuesday it filed papers in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to enforce a March 20, 2001, default judgment by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Court, which is considered a foreign sovereign court under U.S. law.

The original judgment for $1.8 billion was awarded because tribal members represented by the trust claimed Park Place Entertainment had interfered in the tribe’s earlier plans to develop a casino in upstate New York.

The judgment included a 9 percent per year interest rate that has added about $1 billion to the judgment since it was awarded.

“The billion-plus dollars in interest represent the cost to the defendants for ignoring the tribal court judgment for the last six years,” said trustee Dennis Vacco, former attorney general for New York.

Harrah’s, is named in the lawsuit because it acquired Park Place with its $9.4 billion buyout of Caesars Entertainment in June 2005. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit.

New Jersey-based attorney Clive Cummis, who is also named in the lawsuit, did not return inquiries for comment.

“The tribal court judgment is going to be difficult to enforce against Harrah’s without some further action in the federal courts,” said Kathryn Rand, co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota.

Harrah’s said in March it believed the case is already settled, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Harrah’s, however, said it will “vigorously contest any attempt to enforce the judgment,” the filing concluded.

The gaming company, through its attorney George Carpinello, reiterated in a July 10 letter to the federal court that the company believes the matter has been settled.

The company asked for an extension until Aug. 13 to respond to the lawsuit.

“The claim that it was settled is a gross misrepresentation of the facts,” Vacco said.

The enforcement stems from a default judgment finding Park Place and Cummis “fraudulently induced” St. Regis Mohawk tribal chiefs into a management agreement to quickly develop a southern Catskills casino in 2000.

The agreement undermined 1996 and 1999 contracts the tribe had with other parties to develop a similar project, according to federal court documents.

The Catskill Litigation Trust was put together in 2004 by three limited-liability companies: Catskill Development, Monticello Raceway Development Company and Mohawk Management.

The St. Regis Mohawk tribe recently joined the trust to pursue the judgment.

Rand said plaintiffs in tribal courts sometimes have to turn to federal courts to enforce judgments against nonreservation individuals and corporations.

“Although tribal court judgments are entitled to respect by federal and state courts, they aren’t necessarily given automatic recognition or enforcement,” she said.

Rand said the federal court will look to see if the initial claim is within a tribal court’s jurisdiction, whether the judgment was appropriate and if the tribal court followed due process.

The enforcement request comes four years after Carpinello, then representing Park Place, sent a letter to the same court requesting a 60-day extension to collect the last of more than 30 plaintiff signatures needed to finish the settlement.

One of the conditions of the proposed settlement was an agreement to vacate the tribal court order.

A letter to New York Supreme Court dated June 1, 2004, from Park Place attorneys also indicated a settlement was close, but not yet complete.

The gaming company had filed a defamation lawsuit in state Supreme Court in March 2001 against 30 individuals of the tribe.

The 2004 letter asked for that case to remain open pending the federal court settlement.

A follow-up letter to the Supreme Court dated Dec. 5, 2006, from Harrah’s said the “status of the settlement agreement has not changed” and the gaming company was not “prepared to abandon” its Supreme Court case.

However, a Feb. 8 letter to the Supreme Court said the gaming company’s position changed and the “disputes were settled, not withstanding the defendants’ failure to execute a settlement agreement.”

St. Regis Mohawk tribe operates two casinos in New York and is pursuing a Catskill project.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer agreed in February to allow the tribe to build and operate a $600 million, 750,000-square foot resort on 29 acres in the southern Catskill Mountains.

The tribe is partners with Empire Resorts to design a two-story facility for 3,500 slot machines, 125 gaming tables and 24 poker tables at Monticello Raceway.

Harrah’s is in the process of a $17.1 billion buyout by private-equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management.

3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like