Judge Orders Mediation For Tribes, Gov. Stitt Amid Gaming Dispute
A judge has ordered mediation between Oklahoma tribes and Governor Kevin Stitt during the ongoing gaming compact dispute.
Court documents filed on Tuesday list the Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation as the plaintiffs, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are listed as intervenors -- and Gov. Stitt is listed as the defendant.
The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association released a statement in response to the order Tuesday saying,
OIGA is pleased to see that the Judge has moved quickly to set a timeline for the first steps in resolving our dispute with Gov. Stitt, and we look forward to a timely decision on the case. As always, Tribal Governments are bound by the compact, and will continue to abide by it. The Tribes are making exclusivity fee payments for January 2020, and we are upholding our responsibilities."
AG Sarah Hill of the Cherokee Nation released a statement saying:
“We appreciate the opportunity to get these proceedings underway and look forward to working with the court to resolve the renewal dispute.”
Governor Stitt's office also released a statement in response to the mediation order saying:
“The mediation order entered by Judge DeGiusti is welcomed by the Governor and the State. The State’s legal team is committed to engaging in good-faith negotiations that will achieve a productive solution for the State’s future, for its 4 million residents, and for all of Oklahoma’s sovereign tribes.” – Baylee Lakey, Communications Director.
It is unclear at this time when the mediation is set to begin. According to the court documents, the mediation is to be completed by the "firm deadline" of March 31, 2020.