Panelists in Sherrill discuss legal issues with state's agreement with Oneida Indian Nation
It was standing room only in Sherrill, as the governor's new deal with the Oneida Indian Nation was hammered by a panel of people who've been fighting this battle for years. Judy Bachmann of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance was one of the panelists.
"I'm angry. We've worked too hard and too long on the legal issues for this to be forgotten," says Bachmann.
The discussion was hosted by Sherrill City Commissioner Mike Hennesy. The crowd was clapping and nodding as members of the panel pointed out the legal issues with the agreement, including that the Oneidas have no land claim based on a supreme court decision in 2011.
"There is no land claim for the New York Oneidas in New York. It was extinguished. No money, no land," says Bachmann.
Comparing it to the recent gun legislation, the agreement is described as a rushed deal, secretly negotiated behind closed doors. The deal, which needs local approval, includes a host of provisions, including one that says the Oneidas will share 25% of slot machine revenue with the state in exchange for exclusive gaming rights in Central New York.
Oneida County Legislature Chad Davis will be voting against the agreement.
"We were not at the table. It came out of the blue. And to me it looks like a total political solution not a legal solution," says Davis.
Dave Vickers with Upstate Citizens for Equality says the agreement is fundamentally flawed.
"This is not a good government style. He ought to be ashamed of himself as governor that he thinks this is appropriate. And anyone willing to swallow this ought to not call themselves a very good citizen," says Vickers.
Oneida and Madison county legislatures are set to vote on Tuesday.