|Oneida Indians sue to obtain Gaming Commission casino siting records.|
|Text of press release.|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Joel Barkin
Oneida Nation V.P. for Communications
Oneida Nation Files Lawsuit Against NYS Gaming Commission for Withholding Documents
ONEIDA NATION HOMELANDS (Sept. 8, 2015) The Oneida Indian Nation filed a lawsuit Friday requesting that a state court force the New York Gaming Commission live up to its public promises to release all documents related to its casino siting decisions. Despite those promises, the Gaming Commission rejected open records requests for data and documents it relied on when making its decisions. That rejection came amid revelations that the process was plagued by conflicts of interest and a refusal by some bidders to properly disclose key facts about their gaming proposals.
The Gaming Commission is a public entity making decisions that will profoundly affect this state’s economy, and that means the public has a basic right to see how those decisions were made. The Oneida Nation is asking the court to make sure the Gaming Commission lives up to its own promises to publicly release all materials that went into its decisions. This is especially troubling at a time when so many significant questions have already been raised about applicants’ potential undisclosed conflicts.
In February of 2015, the spokesperson for the Gaming Commission, acknowledged that the legislation expanding gaming “called for unprecedented transparency.” That spokesperson also asserted that “all material regarding the process, including legally required disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are available on our Web site for anyone to examine.”
Yet, that has not happened: instead, the Gaming Commission rejected the Oneida Indian Nation’s request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law for the analyses, data and projections that the commission itself now says it relied upon in making its decisions.
Please see the attached link for a copy of the lawsuit filed on Friday against the NYS Gaming Commission.