KESHENA - It is crunch time for the Menominee Nation.
Governor Walker will soon decide the fate of a proposed casino near Kenosha. The $800 million partnership with Hard Rock International includes a hotel and restaurant.
Craig Corn, the chairman of the Menominee, said Monday evening that he expects his tribe will be able to convince Governor Walker to approve their casino.
"Through Menominee's eyes and all of this data and this report, I think, I know he's a reasonable man and I think he will change his perspective. I really do," said Corn.
The Menominee Nation will meet with the governor on Wednesday, the day after a deadline that he set in August.
While in Ashwaubenon Monday, the governor announced he would make a decision by the end of the week. He reiterated the standards he set more than two years ago: the Menominee have to prove their proposed casino has community support, won't result in a net increase in gaming, and has the backing of all Native American tribes in Wisconsin.
"I set what my standard was then, the three objectives," said Walker. "I've laid that out consistently since then."
The Menominee said the project would create 3,300 jobs and provide the state with $35 million in annual payments.
Governor Walker held a meeting last week involving the Menominee, the Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk. The Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk still say they will not support the casino because it will hurt their tribes financially.
The Ho-Chunk have five gaming halls in central and western Wisconsin. Their spokesperson Collin Price said the tribe's research shows it could lose around $20 million if the new casino is built.
"The Ho-Chunk Nation's position is not going to change," said Price. "We've made our position clear for the past year and a half or so, both to the Menominee Nation as well as the governor."
Meanwhile, the Potawatomi reiterated their opposition with a statement on Monday afternoon.
"This proposal has a history with corrupt individuals whose fingerprints are still on the application today, and will end up sending hundreds of millions of dollars to the-out-of state gambling interests invested in the project," tribal spokesman Ken Walsh said.
Chairman Corn told FOX 11 that on Monday morning, he sent a letter to leaders of the Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk tribes, requesting a meeting. Corn said he still hasn't received a response.
"As one fellow tribe to another, how can we help? You know, that's what we're here for, to help each other," he said.
Governor Walker wants to see the tribes meet again.
"My hope is yet this week, both the Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk will consider offers from the Menominee," he said.
The casino was already approved by the federal government, but the ultimate decision is in Governor Walker's hands.
(Editor's note: The copy was corrected to indicate the governor said he would make a decision by the end of the week, not that there was a change in the deadline.)
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