Suit seeks to nullify Cuomo-Oneida deal

With a vote coming soon on whether to expand casino gambling in New York, two small upstate towns are asking a court to throw out the rules that would govern the rollout and a related deal between the state and the Oneida Indians.

The towns of Verona and Vernon in central New York argue in a federal lawsuit for nullification of an agreement this year between the state and the Oneida Indian Nation that would allow the tribe to put up to 25,000 acres into trust.

Andrew Cuomo 2While the lawsuit does not seek to disrupt the Nov. 5 statewide referendum, a victory by the towns would throw a monkey wrench into the state’s plan to regulate casino expansion. And it would invalidate an agreement the two towns argue would devastate them by taking away their ability to tax and regulate a substantial amount of land within their boundaries.

“The people that are in those communities are going to have to make it up by paying higher taxes,” said town of Vernon Supervisor Myron Thurston, whose town of roughly 1,200 is near the Oneidas’ Turning Stone casino. “It’s terribly unfair for the taxpayers of Vernon and Verona, bottom line.”

Voters will consider an amendment to …read more

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