Walker triples cap on payment for casino study

Rendering of the Menominee Nation's proposed casino in Kenosha.
Rendering of the Menominee Nation's proposed casino in Kenosha.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has agreed to triple to $1.5 million the potential payment to a national law firm hired to help examine whether to allow the Menominee Tribe to open an $800 million casino in Kenosha.

The original contract signed in December capped payments to the Dykema Gossett law firm at $500,000.

But an amended contract released Thursday by Walker’s administration raises the cap to $1.5 million.

Walker’s Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says the increase in potential payment “reflects the complexity of both the Kenosha casino proposal and its economic impact on Wisconsin.”

Huebsch says raising the cap “ensures we will be able to provide accurate, relevant information about the viability of this project.”

The Menominee Tribe released the following statement following the amendment to the contract, it reads in part:

“The additional resources for the Governor’s special counsel provided today (Thursday) will ensure a thorough and complete examination of the benefits of our proposed Kenosha project.

We remain convinced that the Menominee-Hard Rock Proposal provides significant advantages that include a large-scale construction project, increased payments to the state, the creation of thousands of new jobs on the Wisconsin side of the border with Illinois, and new income to help the Menominee along the path of self-determination.”

A Democrat in the state Assembly has another view about the casino decision. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha wants the governor to do some of his own research. Walker will be in Las Vegas this weekend to meet with a billionaire casino owner.

Barca released a statement Friday, it reads in part:

“When he’s not focused on trying to raise money and line up support for a possible presidential run, I encourage Gov. Walker to take the time while he’s in Las Vegas to observe the economic advantages of casinos in general and for Kenosha in particular.”

Walker has not said when he will make a decision.

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