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State of New York Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: State of New York Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit
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The Towns of Vernon and Verona took up a case against the state regarding an agreement with the Oneida Nation. Lawyers for the towns claimed the deal was unconstitutional, but justices disagreed. Reporter Alana LaFlore has the details about how lawmakers are reacting.

UTICA, N.Y. -- When the landmark deal was reached with the Oneida Nation, the towns and several individuals claimed it infringed upon multiple rights. A group of officials including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente were named in the suit. The New York State Gaming Commission was named as well, along with Picente says he's pleased with the ruling.

"They challenged an agreement that had passed every legislative body that was necessary," said Picente. "And was approved on the federal level as well."

In the suit - the towns said the agreement would have devastating consequences.
The claimed they would lose their property tax bases, sales tax revenue and the ability to regulate the use of land. They also alleged the agreement was reached improperly.

"There was no malice," said Picente. "There was no vote buying there were no other, you know illegal means or intent other than to move the state and community forward."

The deal allows the Oneida Nation to put up to 25,000 acres of its land into trust. And no other casinos will be permitted within a certain radius.The Turning Stone Resort and Casino will turn over a portion of its revenue to the state.

"The agreement constitutes that Oneida county receives an estimated revenue of $12.5 million a year," said Picente.

Picente said the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayer resources and the agreement will only benefit the county's residents. Oneida County got its first payment from the Oneida Nation back in March.

"We can look at things a little bit differently in terms of how we budget around here," said Picente. "So that we can assure people that we are going to be looking at stabilizing the tax rate."

An official from Verona said they are still reviewing the decision and will weigh their options.

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