Several Democrats in the North Carolina House are concerned about the land deals connected to the Catawba Tribe’s new casino project in Kings Mountain. A total of 13 members of the House have requested that Attorney General Josh Stein investigate the deals, but he reportedly plans to decline the request.
What’s the Deal?
Representative Susa Fisher is the lead signer of the letter to the AG requesting the investigation who says that she is unsure of where the legislatures should go next. The AG’s office says that they do not have the authority to investigate, and it should be done on a local level.
According to Fisher, the next option would most likely be that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will take the step to see a local investigation started. The tribe is a competitor of the Catawba and have been trying to stop the tribe from opening a new casino since it was first announced.
Groundbreaking began on the Catawba casino last year and there have been plenty of issues surrounding the project. The tribe is actually located in South Carolina but were denied the right to operate a casino in the state. They then looked to neighboring state North Carolina and were given federal approval to move into the area.
A deal was signed with Governor Roy Cooper that moves the project closer to fruition. If the venue ever gets off the ground, it will operate about an hour from Charlotte. The Cherokee provide casino gaming in the towns of Murphy and Cherokee and do not want any competition.
According to the lawmakers worried about the deal, they do not have any specific proof of wrongdoing when it comes to the land. However, they do worry that about the deals and who will gain from the project. The lawmakers are requesting transparency and want to know who is connected to the project.
Fisher says that several LLCs are involved but there are no names attached. They want more transparency to see who is involved as the investors into the project. The lawmakers also want to know if there were closed door hearings with local leaders who may have been given information that provides them with improper benefits.
The letter points out that Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler has land nearby the casino development. His family would benefit from the facility due to this fact. After hearing about the letter, the mayor says he welcomes any investigation and does not expect to profit from the casino.
The mayor called out the Cherokee, stating that their ‘heavy-handed pressure’ to create a conspiracy theory is shameful.
The legislators who signed the letter feel that something is going on that is underhanded involving the Catawba casino project. Are they being pressured or fed information from the Cherokee that resulted in their theories?
Are they in the right by asking for more information surrounding the land deals? Some lawmakers think the deal is fishy, even saying ‘monkey business’ is going on. It will be interesting to see if the deal is investigated or let go. Will something odd eventually come to light?