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Menominee pushes Kenosha casino outside court

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April 15, 2009

KENOSHA - The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has changed its strategy and withdrawn its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior for rejecting its plan to build an $800 million Indian casino in Kenosha. Instead the tribe will seek to negotiate with new administration officials in Washington.

A spokesman for the tribe, Evan Zeppos, said the tribe believes it is better for them to engage in dialog with the new administration at this time rather than litigate their demands in court.

The lawsuit resulted from a change in policy by the former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne that required off-reservation casinos to be within commuting distance of the reservation. The Secretary then rejected the tribe's application based on the new policy. The tribe sued calling the decision "arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful."

According to the tribe's notice of voluntary dismissal filed in federal court March 30th, the tribe reserves the right to re-file their lawsuit if the Interior Department does not end its policy on off-reservation casinos and reverse its decision on the their casino application.

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