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St. Regis Mohawks vote to end pursuit of Catskills casino

November 27, 2009

MONTICELLO After a decade-long fight to build an off-reservation casino in Sullivan County, St. Regis Mohawks appear to have ended their pursuit. In a referendum last week, tribal members voted 178-140 against continuing the project.

News of the Mohawks' vote sent shares of Empire plummeting nearly 20 percent, closing at $2.43 a share. Empire was the Mohawks' partner in developing a casino at Monticello Gaming & Raceway.

"We respect the process and procedure of the St. Regis Mohawks, and we are evaluating the impact of the referendum," said Empire spokesman Charlie Degliomini.
The tribe has not made any public comments following the vote.

Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini said, "We still have two good tribes that want to open a casino in Sullivan County. The St. Regis Mohawks have been on and off about a casino and have been changing sites for years. We'll work with tribes who want to be here."

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans hopes to build a casino in Sullivan. They are a Wisconsin tribe with ancestral claims to the area. Also the Seneca Nation has held discussions on a building a casino in the Catskills.

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