Governor Walker Rejects $220 Million

Milwaukee – The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe who own Hard Rock International, offered $220 million towards a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange, they want approval to build a new Hard Rock Casino in Kenosha.

However, it didn’t take long for the Walker administration to reject the Menominee tribe idea of paying $220 million to cover the taxpayers’ share for a new downtown Milwaukee Bucks arena, in exchange for approval of its proposed Kenosha casino.

Gov. Walker’s top negotiator on the project said the issue is no longer open for discussion.

Menominee Chair Gary Besaw made the announcement at separate news conferences in Milwaukee and Madison Tuesday, saying the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has assured him Gov. Walker still has until February 19 to reverse his decision.

Gov. Walker announced on January 23 he was rejecting the Menominee casino project, because it left Wisconsin taxpayers exposed to $100 million or more in liabilities caused by the Potawatomi Nation stopping its annual revenue payments to the state.

The Governor is concerned the Potawatomi would file a lawsuit arguing the establishment of a casino in Kenosha violates the gaming compact they have with the state, because it is less than 50 miles from their Milwaukee casino.

The $220 million offered by the Menominee is equal to the amount Gov. Walker included in his budget proposal for the arena project, which he wants to pay for with state bonding.

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