Village should be able to collect taxes: State's request could affect Seneca land claim area

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The state wants a federal injunction against Union Springs lifted to allow it to

collect taxes from the Cayuga Indian Nation.

Assistant Attorney General David Roberts Tuesday filed a “friend-of-the-court”

brief in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, asking Judge David Hurd to lift his April

23, 2004, that prevents the village of Union Springs from enforcing zoning and

other local land use laws and regulations on a parcel where the Nation owns two

businesses.

He asks Hurd to rule in favor of the village, saying the March 29 U.S. Supreme

Court “Sherrill” decision requires it to do so.

In City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, the court ruled the

Oneidas cannot reassert sovereignty over non-reservation land by buying

formally abandoned parcels.

Roberts maintains the same applies to the Cayuga Indian Nation, so Seneca and

Cayuga county land it has bought in the last 10 years is subject to local and state

taxation and other regulations.

Roberts further argues that the “Sherrill” decision applies equally, if not more

strongly, to the Cayuga Indian Nation, which was displaced from its historic

homeland during the American Revolution, sold its former Cayuga reservation

he brief, on behalf of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, comes about six weeks

after the Seneca County Board of Supervisors asked Spitzer’s office to

investigate and possibly close gaming facilities at LakeSide Entertainment on

Route 89 in the town of Seneca Falls, claiming they may be illegal.

In a June 1 letter to County Attorney Steven Getman, Deputy Attorney General

Richard Rifkin wrote that Spitzer’s office, in conjunction with the governor’s staff,

has been carefully reviewing the Sherrill decision.

Rifkin noted questions have been raised about the exact parameters of the

state’s authority, but that the Spitzer’s office will be forcefully arguing for

expanded authority.

He said the governor’s counsel has sought clarification from the Secretary of the

Interior and National Gaming Commission about their position on that and other

issues, and there are a number of pending court cases that should further define

the implications of the Sherrill decision.

he brief, on behalf of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, comes about six weeks

after the Seneca County Board of Supervisors asked Spitzer’s office to

investigate and possibly close gaming facilities at LakeSide Entertainment on

Route 89 in the town of Seneca Falls, claiming they may be illegal.

In a June 1 letter to County Attorney Steven Getman, Deputy Attorney General

Richard Rifkin wrote that Spitzer’s office, in conjunction with the governor’s staff,

has been carefully reviewing the Sherrill decision.

Rifkin noted questions have been raised about the exact parameters of the

state’s authority, but that the Spitzer’s office will be forcefully arguing for

expanded authority.

He said the governor’s counsel has sought clarification from the Secretary of the

Interior and National Gaming Commission about their position on that and other

issues, and there are a number of pending court cases that should further define

the implications of the Sherrill decision.

“While we appreciate the need for a complete legal review of the issues

presented, the county is disappointed that the attorney general’s office is

adopting the wait-and-see attitude and somewhat turning to the federal

authorities to address a matter that the county maintains is governed by state

criminal law,” Getman said.

He noted the county looks forward to a decision by Spitzer it hopes works reestablish

equal treatment on issues of gambling and other matters.

“In the past, Mr. Spitzer, has not shied away from challenging the federal

government’s interpretation of federal law,” Getman said.

http://www.fltimes.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=8614&SectionID=38&SubSectionID=121 (2 of 3)6/8/2005 12:50:58 PM

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Steven Getman Attorney Franklin & Gabriel Law Office

Steven Getman County Assigned Counsel, 2008-2011

Steven Getman Seneca County Stop-DWI Coordinator, 2007

Steven Getman Seneca County Attorney, 2002-2007

Steven Getman Seneca County DSS Attorney, 1995-2001

Steven Getman Attorney Midey & Swinehart, 1995-2001

Steven Getman Seneca County Public Defender, 1995

Steven Getman Seneca County Law Guardian Panel, 1992-1995

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Published In: Criminal Law Updates, Indigenous Peoples Updates, Tax Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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