"Basically I think what the attorney general of the state of Kansas and Governor Brownback are, are a bunch of racist Indian haters."
Quapaw Tribal Chairman John Berrey speaking Friday (4/17) about the State of Kansas asking a federal court to stop the Tribe from expanding Downstream Casino Resort into Cherokee County, Kansas. Berrey says there were no plans to expand the casino into Kansas land until the State decided to put a casino in southeast Kansas.
"We did not lie, we don't lie and we did not lie in any way, shape or form in our application for land in the trust and our subsequent request for the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission) to give us a game ability opinion."
Berrey says as a landowner, the Tribe has a right to change its mind on how its land will be used.
Berrey went on to say that the Quapaw Tribe didn't plan to expand into Kansas until the state decided to add a casino in southeast Kansas. "When the state Legislature lowered the bar and is trying to create an opportunity for a state-owned gaming facility in my backyard, that's when we decided we should make a change in use."
Berrey says the claim by Kansas that the Quapaw has construction equipment in Kansas is not true. There is equipment on the casino's land, but on the Oklahoma side for expansion of Downstream there.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill authorizing $1 billion in bonds to bolster Kansas' pension system for teachers and government workers.
The bill that Brownback signed Wednesday (4/15) will give the pension system an infusion of cash and narrow a gap in funding for pension benefits. The state expects to earn more from investing the new funds than it would pay on the bonds.
But some lawmakers have expressed concerns that it could be risky and the votes to pass it in the Legislature were relatively close.
Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly from Topeka has said she believes the state was made the move in order to lower its annual pension payments as it faces budget shortfalls of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1.