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Friday, June 6, 2008
Contact: Bob Brammer, Iowa Attorney Generalís Office, 515-281-6699

Statement of Gov. Chet Culver, Attorney General Tom Miller,
and Dean Lerner, Director of the Iowa Dept. of Inspections and Appeals.

Statement:

We have decided to legally contest the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s plan to establish a casino on tribal trust land in Carter Lake, Iowa.

On December 31, the National Indian Gaming Commission approved a gaming ordinance submitted by the Ponca Tribe that would allow the Tribe to go forward with establishing a casino in Carter Lake. We will be seeking judicial review of the National Indian Gaming Commission ruling from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, in Des Moines.

The Ponca Tribe previously had represented to the State of Iowa that their Carter Lake trust lands did not qualify as gaming-eligible restored lands under federal law. Rather, the Tribe repeatedly attested that it only intended to use the five-acre Carter Lake plot for a health clinic and other tribal services, but never for a casino.

We believe that the National Indian Gaming Commission mistakenly found that the tribal trust lands in Carter Lake were in fact eligible under federal law to be used for gambling. The National Indian Gaming Commission reached this conclusion despite the Ponca Tribe’s representations to the contrary. We have therefore decided to challenge that approval in federal court litigation.

It is appropriate for the State of Iowa to fully litigate the question of whether the Carter Lake trust lands truly qualify under federal law for gaming purposes, especially in view of the Tribe’s earlier promises that it did not intend to conduct gambling upon that land.

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