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September 17, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

CT, Mashantucket Pequot tribe get OK to pursue lawsuit against Ryan Zinke

A U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe can move forward with their lawsuit against former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, which alleges that he acted improperly to prevent the construction of a casino in East Windsor.

A rendering of the proposed East Windsor casino. Image courtesy Stu Loeser & Co.

The suit, filed in 2017 by the state and the Mashantucket Pequot, which operates the Foxwoods Resort and Casino, maintains that Zinke failed to take action on approving the East Windsor facility due to pressure from MGM Resorts and Republican lawmakers in Nevada. MGM opened the MGM Springfield casino last year, against which the East Windsor casino – to be called Tribal Winds and be operated by both the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes under the MMCT joint venture banner – would compete.

Zinke

Zinke, who resigned from the Department of the Interior on Jan. 2, and MGM have denied any wrongdoing.

Under the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, the tribe and the state have until Friday to file an amended complaint.

The $300 million Tribal Winds Casino has been stymied by the failure of the Interior Department to act on its request within 45 days of submission. The Connecticut legislature is now considering a bill that would override the required federal permission.

MGM has also long expressed interest in building a casino in Bridgeport.