Feds threaten to cancel Duluth’s casino lease

Duluth, Minnesota (AP) April 2012

The U.S. Department of the Interior has threatened to cancel a lease agreement that allows the city of Duluth to collect a cut of revenue from the Fond-du-Luth video gambling machines.

A letter from Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to Mayor Don Ness says the lease agreement is unlawful in light of recent court rulings and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Ness tells the Duluth News Tribune (http://bit.ly/GXvJWI ) the city will challenge the federal government’s position. The city has 10 days to make its case to the Department of the Interior on why the lease agreement should be preserved.

The Fond du Lac Band stopped making the annual payments of more than $6 million to Duluth in 2009, saying the money wasn’t worth the services the city provided in return.