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Tribal Council Gaming Proposal Hammered Out

By E. Bowers

HOLLYWOOD - "This must be a good deal . . . each side feels they gave too much," said Larry Lucas, Vice President of Coconut Creek Gaming, L.P., (CCG) about the negotiations to construct and operate a gaming facility in the city of Coconut Creek. The facility was the main topic of the Sept. 10 Seminole Tribal Council meeting.

According to Lucas, the proposed Coconut Creek facility has been a six-year project that required permits from a slew of governmental entities, received little or no cooperation from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), and required a compromise with Coconut Creek city officials.

However, the proposal is labeled as a real estate deal, not a management contract, and still requires the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The proposal could go back to square one if it is not approved by the BIA.

The Council approved transaction documents with CCG for the financing, design, construction, and lease of the gaming facility in Coconut Creek. The facility will be developed in three phases, pending permitting and city approval.

Phase One plans will have 20,000 square feet of gaming area with Class II machines and Lightning Bingo. Phase Two, which will be underway at the same time as Phase One, calls for the purchase of additional land and securing the necessary permits for the ultimate plans of Phase Three. Those plans call for 140,000 square feet of gaming area, a 340-room hotel housing a nightclub, restaurant and ballroom, and a tri-level parking garage.

Attorneys for the Tribe also outlined the Municipal Service Provider Agreement sent by the city of Coconut Creek, which was also approved by the Council. The Agreement set out a schedule of payments for various services such as fire, medical, and sanitation. Other issues that were addressed were busing, to be provided by the Tribe, and annual contributions to the city.

The Council also:

Approved a resolution declaring that the venue for all lawsuits brought against the Seminole Tribe will be in either Broward County or in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and addressed the right to collect attorney fees for unsuccessful lawsuits and claims.

Approved the Self-insured Medical Expense Reimbursement-Tribal member Health Plan, a Health Claim Administration Agreement with HealthClaims Services, Inc. for medical provider services at reduced costs.

Approved the Native American Bancorporation Investment Agreement. The Seminole Tribe will join fellow investors: the Pequot, Michigan Chippewa, Cheyenne River Sioux, and Paiute tribes.

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