City, Tribe Complete Casino Land Sale

Nov 2, 2012

The proposed casino project for downtown Lansing has taken a big step forward.  The city has signed a deal with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to sell a tract of land adjacent to the city’s downtown convention center.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (far left), Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Aaron Payment and private investor Bob Liggett sign a land sale agreement that turns over city-owned property adjacent to the Lansing Center to the tribe.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians purchased the parcel near the Lansing Center for $280,000.  It will negotiate with the city for two other parcels at a later time..  The tribe must now apply to the federal government to take the property into trust.

The tribe is facing a lawsuit filed by the Michigan attorney general to block the application.  But tribe chairperson Aaron Payment says the Sault are persistent.

“We are here after every effort to try to prevent us from being here today," Payment says.  "So don’t bet against the Sault tribe.  We expect there will be legal challenges, but we are here hundreds of years later, we’ll continue to be here and we will win any legal challenges.”

The tribe’s attorney says he hopes the legal challenge will be resolved in a few weeks.  When completed, the 125,000 square foot casino is expected to create 1,500 full time jobs.