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May 12, 2010 1:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecocks casino team visits Brookhaven airport at invitation of town and county officials

May 12, 2010 1:08 PM

Representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and their financial backer, Detroit casino developer Michael Malick, visited the sprawling Brookhaven Airport property on Friday morning at the invitation of Brookhaven Town lawmakers and members of the Suffolk County Gaming Task Force, who were pitching the 600-acre property as a possible site for a future Shinnecock-operated casino.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko confirmed that the town hosted the Shinnecock contingent. After the tour of the airport property, town officials gave a presentation on details about the property, including aerial images and connections to area roads.

“We had preliminary discussions about the site, which were productive and positive,” Mr. Lesko said on Monday. He declined to comment on the substance of the conversations beyond the details of the property.

The property abuts the Sunrise Highway service road, potentially providing the sort of major artery access the tribe has said is key to a casino location.

Mr. Lesko said the invitation to the Shinnecocks to visit the Brookhaven Airport property was sent out at the behest of the Suffolk County Gaming Task Force a week after Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that he had held meetings with Shinnecock representatives about the possibility of a casino anchoring the redevelopment of the Nassau Memorial Coliseum property in Uniondale. Tribal officials, including two of the three Tribal Trustees, and Mr. Malick visited the Nassau Coliseum site on Friday afternoon as well.

Tribal Trustee Randy King was adamant that all the talks with various government officials and site visits are purely exploratory and not indicative of any current negotiations. The tribe is a long way from being able to settle on a site for a casino, he said.

“We have multiple consultants and representatives talking to people and having a variety of conversations with a lot of people that want to talk about different possibilities,” Mr. King, who was not part of the entourage to visit the Brookhaven and Uniondale sites on Friday, said on Monday. “We’re not trying to pit one site against ... another, and we really don’t focus on the casino sites as much as people seem to think. We would love to just see the recognition process through and go from there. We’ve got a long way to go still and a lot to do.”

The Shinnecocks are expected to be awarded federal recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs this summer, ending a decade-long legal battle with the agency over their official status. Once recognized, the tribe would be cleared to open a small gaming facility, something that offers low-stakes games, on tribal land—a move the tribe has not been planning, but has not ruled out, either.

But if the tribe plans to open a large casino, it will have to purchase or somehow acquire a suitably-sized property, somewhere beyond the South Fork.

Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs said that a key to identifying the right site will be local support from the surrounding communities.

“You have to start somewhere that wants you because that is going to be the basis for building support up to the state level,” Mr. Gumbs said.

Whatever site is ultimately selected will have to be placed into a federal trust on behalf of the tribe—once a simple process that has been complicated by a recent Supreme Court ruling in a Rhode Island case and will likely require sponsorship in the U.S. Congress by New York’s federal representatives.

Mr. Gumbs, who for the last year has advocated for the tribe looking at Suffolk County sites rather than possibilities closer to New York City so that the casino can be a potential job source for tribal members, said that he was impressed by the pitch Brookhaven officials made for the airport.

“They were very aware of the viability of Indian gaming and have done their due diligence in understanding the potential of gaming to their town—I was quite impressed with that,” Mr. Gumbs said. “The property is basically construction ready, it’s within decent commutable range and it connects to the service road and the William Floyd [Parkway]. But we don’t know the politics as a whole. It’s really just an idea that this might be something we want to consider down the road.”

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico said a Shirley casino would have to be vetted by the community. He said that the former Parr Meadows horse track property, another potential Brookhaven casino site, 
would probably be preferable to the airport because of its connection to the Long Island Expressway.

“I think the supervisor ... wanted to jump into what I will call the casino sweepstakes to gain revenue for the placement of a casino,” Mr. Panico said. “However, I think you will hear from many people that the placement of a casino at Brookhaven Airport is a sweepstakes they would rather not win.”

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they should put it at Gabreski airport. It would be a better destination for people from out of the area. They could take a drive to the Hampton's when they want to get out of the casino. Plus it would give us something fun to do instead of shoveling snow in the winter. I'm just say-in
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 12, 10 10:31 PM
No thanks.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on May 13, 10 5:05 AM
Darn,
I was hoping the Shinys could bring gambling closer to home. I was looking foward to legalized gambling, prostitution and drugs.
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 13, 10 8:57 AM
Razza lighten up I bit. Have you been to Mohegan Sun Its beautiful, Clean, and safe. Whats your real beef ?
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 13, 10 9:03 PM
so dan you are telling me you dont like gambling women or drugs
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 14, 10 10:35 AM
I love women, And like wine gambling is fine in moderation. Drugs no I leave those for the folks in San Francisco
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 14, 10 9:06 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By cochise316 (58), southampton on May 17, 10 9:11 PM
Get a sense of humor
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 17, 10 10:47 PM
BROOKHAVEN GETS IT! Tax revenue, JOBS, more JOBS. What's the problem?
If you're concerned about Drugs and Prostitution---look around---they're already here!
By uncleronk (136), southold on May 13, 10 11:03 AM
are you saying their are drugs and prostitution on the reservation. That would be politically incorrect
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 16, 10 10:27 PM
I know for a fact there is. I have seen it first hand.... but thats there business. Just because it is on the rez does not mean it will be in the casinos.
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 17, 10 10:14 AM
Gabreski sounds like the perfect spot. It will not affect the Hampton's at all. Yet be close enough for the Tribe to commute. It could work out to be a plus for everyone if done tastefully.
By joe hampton (3272), south hampton on May 13, 10 9:10 PM
You must not live anywhere near Gabreski. Some of us do, and we don't want it.
By Turkey Bridge (1906), Quiogue on May 14, 10 5:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
But there is nothing around in any direction for miles ???
By joe hampton (3272), south hampton on May 14, 10 3:50 PM
Rumor has it that representatives looked at the Pastor building in Westhampton this week as a potenial bingo hall and slots. It could be open before the end of the year.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 14, 10 6:36 PM
Gee, guess I can't drive to the 7-11 anymore. Imagine the traffic on the Old Montauk Highway!
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 19, 10 3:48 PM
I was under the impression that the land used had to be owned by the reservation, no?
By BeachGal (72), Hampton Bays on May 14, 10 7:22 PM
No federal the law says it has to be no more than 25 miles from the main reservation ( But who pays attention to federal law anymore right)
By joe hampton (3272), south hampton on May 14, 10 9:02 PM
Certainly not the INS Joe that is for sure
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 14, 10 9:08 PM
Does it make sense to anyone, ethically, that the state should allow gambling if sponsored by Native Americans but, otherwise, it's illegal?

People want to gamble. Let's make it possible for them to do it anywhere in NYS with the tax revenue and jobs going to the local municipalities.

Laws against consensual "crimes" only fund organized crime which will use the proceeds to commit nonconsensual crimes (bribery, extortion, murder).
By highhatsize (3885), East Quogue on May 16, 10 2:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Right on the money!
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on May 17, 10 11:19 PM
Native Americans are better qualified to run gambling, they now have experience and have done a great job in Conn. and elsewhere. Gambling does produce local revenues and is a benefit to the surrounding areas. Here on Long Island the Shinnecocks deserve the exclusive right to run things.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 16, 10 2:34 PM
Are you kidding the is one of the worst generalizations I've ever read! Just because Native Americans in Conn have a casino doesn't mean that all Native Americans are by default casino operators.
Do all Asians run good dry cleaning businesses too?
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on May 17, 10 11:22 PM
Do you actually believe native americans are running Casinios in Conn.? They are just sitting back collecting "royalty" checks. Why would you say they are better qualified? As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven deserves got nothing to do with it.
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 17, 10 9:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
He also said "I'm interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice"
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 17, 10 10:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
Funny I don't remember that line in the movie. You must have it mistaken with your favorite movie driving miss daisey.
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 17, 10 6:50 PM
Or better yet bare back mountain
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 17, 10 6:51 PM
Broke Back Mountain... you genius! LOL!
razza - were you too hot and bothered when watching it to catch the title?
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on May 17, 10 11:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on May 17, 10 11:27 PM
Razza that was a cheap shot.....I don't know why it is I just cant quit you.
By 27dan (2593), south hampton on May 17, 10 8:56 PM
I was just returning the favor. It's all good. FYI you should feel great. yearrounder liked your comment
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on May 17, 10 10:46 PM
I am hoping that wherever it is the land is large enough that eventually the casino would become a destination place (casino, large hotel, and a golf course or waterpark or race track etc … ) thus supplying more then just casino jobs. If there were able to leave a small airport at the site that would be wonderful as well (Brookhaven or Grumman – Gabreski is too small!). It’s going to be done so let’s do it right!
I would go even further to say let’s have the biggest poker room on the east ...more
By Me:-) (2), East Moriches on May 17, 10 8:58 PM
Gabreski is perfect, dont even know wtf they are doing in Brookhaven
By cochise316 (58), southampton on May 17, 10 9:24 PM
GABRESKI IS NOT PERFECT. WE DON'T WANT THAT TRASH IN OUR BACKYARD.
By WHBinManhattan (47), Manhattan/Westhampton on May 19, 10 10:56 AM
I live quite near to Gabreski and for the 32 years I have done so there has always been a "plan" for the place - but never a product. Then along comes the Hi-Tech Park - another one of the many plans (anyone remember a group that wanted to fly cattle to Iran - no joke, must have been 1979) but this one actually seems to have some push behind it. Should it happen I would expect it to generate some good paying year round jobswith minimal impact on the area.
Now there is talk of the Shinnecocks ...more
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 19, 10 3:45 PM
Has anyone realized the massive amount of unused land, that was once going to be a raceway just north of the L.I.E? Why not there? It would be cheaper to build.
By irishpilot (1), aquebogue on Oct 18, 10 8:19 PM