In Michigan
7:23 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Bernero apologizes after 'Chief Chicken Little' remark

LANSING, MI –

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is taking heat from Indian representatives who say he made racially insensitive comments at a fundraiser as heated debate continues over his plans for opening a casino in Michigan's capital city.

James Nye is a spokesman for tribes challenging Bernero's casino plans and says he's been told Bernero called him "Chief Chicken Little" at last week's fundraiser.

Bernero apologized in a statement Monday to "any and all who were offended" by his words but says nothing he said was directed toward American Indians or "can fairly be construed as a racial slur."

Bernero supports a proposed casino from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and other tribal casino owners are opposed.

Bernero was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2010.