By Gale Courey Toensing
“Let one [Indian protester] stand on top of a police car in my administration; it would be the last time they stood on top of a police car,” Paladino said.
His words echoed the threats of violence against Indians made recently by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who advised Gov. David Paterson to arm himself like a cowboy to shut down the Seneca Nation’s tobacco economy.
But Paladino goes even further. If elected, he plans to shut down Turning Stone Resort Casino, owned by the Oneida Indian Nation, because he says it is operating illegally. And he promises to re-open the 2001 Seneca Nation’s gaming compact, presumably to grab more Indian money for the state.
“As governor, he would shut down Turning Stone until a legal contract could be approved by the Legislature. And any settlement would be required to include back pay for any worker who lost wages due to the Indian nation’s unwillingness to cooperate,” Paladino’s campaign manager Michael R. Caputo, said.
According to the Oneida Indian Nation, Paladino’s comments are wrong in many ways.
“Paladino is wrong legally. The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction to determine the legality of tribal gaming. The secretary of Interior approved the Oneida compact in 1993. The Department of Interior reaffirmed in 2007 that the compact remains in effect. The federal courts have ruled that the Oneida compact cannot be challenged. Challenges to the compact have been dead for a long time now. With this sort of reckless approach to governing, Paladino has shown he is unfit to be the governor,” the nation said in a statement.