Opposition Mounts Against Wilmorite’s “LAGO” Casino Licensure

Casino Free Tyre Members Pen Letter Joining Others Challenging NYS Gaming Commission’s “Free Pass” to Lago

Tyre, NY -­­ M​embers of Casino Free Tyre wrote a letter, Friday April 24th, to the NYS Gaming Commission requesting that they deny a license for “Lago,” the Wilmorite Casino project, previously recommended for the Town of Tyre.

They base their request first, on the fact that NYS Attorney General, Eric​Schneiderman is currently conducting an investigation of the multiple undisclosed conflicts involved in the casino siting process, as well as a review of market saturation in the Northeast.

Additionally, the letter cites Lago’s failure to update its application with important information of a lawsuit challenging Lago’s SEQRA approval by the Tyre Town Board’s determination of a Negative Declaration. Governing regulations required Lago to provide information about “a​ny pending legal action…of which the applicant is a party and a brief description of such actions.” The Location Board contemplated the preparation of an Environmental Impact Study for projects as massive as the Lago Casino, they noted.

This legal matter was duly submitted to the Commission’s location board by Casino Free Tyre members as early as October 18, 2014, yet the board, nor the firm (Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP) hired to compile the information for the board, considered this important information, rejecting other applications,​referencing litigation risk involving environmental issues as a serious concern. The matter is currently scheduled to be heard May 29th, 2015 in the Appellate Division, 4th Department.

Furthermore, the letter acknowledges that several adjacent h​omeowners in Tyre, NY recently filed a lawsuit on April 3, 2015 against the Town of Tyre, Tyre Town Board, Ronald McGreevy as the Town Supervisor of the Town of Tyre, Whitetail 414 LLC, and Wilmorite Corporation in the New York State Supreme Court, Seneca County.

This lawsuit seeks to invalidate the hotly contested zoning law (Local Law No. 3 of 2014), a product of illegal zoning which paved the way for Wilmorite to force their casino project onto the tiny agricultural community. The homeowners claim the new zoning law constitutes illegal Contract Zoning and Spot Zoning, both prohibited by the State of New York. The newly adopted Local Law amended the Town of Tyre Zoning Map to allow for the development of the “Casino Project.”

The letter states,”Local Law No. 3 of 2014 is entirely inconsistent with the Town’s newly adopted Comprehensive Development Plan and is the result of a quid pro quo in which the developer agreed to pay the Town in excess of $2 million dollars annually in exchange for the Town surrendering its future legislative authority, and a favorable re­zoning determination for the future site of the Casino Project.”

New York Law expressly forbids these practices and requires the Court to void the local law. Agriculturally zoned land which was previously safeguarded from commercial development in this portion of the Town of Tyre, being vastly farmland, indicated throughout the newly adopted “2014 Rural Strategy Plan” for Tyre, N.Y. Large commercial development is not favored by residents based upon their town wide survey, which formulated the plan.

Finally, representatives of Casino Free Tyre state that they’re fully in agreement with two recent letters written to the Commission by George A. Borden of Williams Connolly LLP, Oneida Indian Nation Attorney and Michelle L. Morola of Hodgeson Russ LLP, an attorney writing on behalf of several clients (who participated, unsuccessfully, in the NYS casino selection process last year) and incorporate fully the contents as set forth including every reason stated therein, in this request for denial of Lago’s licensure for a casino in Tyre, N.Y.


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