MILWAUKEE - The Menominee Nation's plans for an $800 million casino remained up in the air Friday.
Governor Scott Walker had said he would make an announcement by Friday on whether he would approve the facility that is planned near Kenosha.
FOX 11 learned Friday afternoon that the Governor could be reviewing extra information he just received. Walker said it could take him a week or more to come to a decision, and he set no timetable.
The site of the proposed casino is the old Dairyland Greyhound dog track, which is located just off I-94 near Kenosha. The Menominee is hoping to join with Hard Rock International to build a gambling and entertainment complex.
Craig Corn, the chairman of the Menominee Tribe, told FOX 11 on Friday afternoon that the Walker administration requested additional financial information from the tribe on Thursday.
Corn said he thinks that is why the delay was announced and said he is happy for the delay. Meanwhile, the two tribes who oppose the casino say they want an answer from the governor as soon as possible.
At a breakfast Friday morning in Milwaukee, Governor Walker explained why he delayed the decision.
"The tentative deadline that I set is not practical to do due diligence," said Walker.
Governor Walker met with the Menominee tribe on Wednesday to review its plan. Corn said he believes the governor is reviewing more of the tribe's financial analysis about the project.
"I actually feel pretty good," said Corn. "I feel real confident and strong in all of the numbers and all of the reports that we submitted to justify the project and re-enforce any claims that we have made about the project."
The tribe has said the casino would create 3,300 permanent jobs and provide $35 million in annual payments to the state.
Walker has said the Menominee have to prove their proposed casino meets three criteria: having the backing of the Kenosha community; not resulting in a net increase in gaming; and having support from all Native American tribes in Wisconsin.
The Menominee claim all the other tribes support the casino through provisions outlined in statewide gaming compacts. Those provisions allow the tribes to be reimbursed if they lose money to a new casino.
The Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi disagree with that reasoning.
Ho-Chunk president Jon Greendeer said he hopes the governor's announcement comes as soon as possible.
"It's very quizzing for the tribes and citizens of the state as to what possibly goes beyond this criteria that he's actually considering," said Greendeer.
A statement on Friday from the Potawatomi said it is disappointed in Governor Walker's delay but added that it's within his right.
The U.S. Department of the Interior gave the Menominee approval in August, but federal law gives Walker the final say.
A local political scientist said he is not surprised the decision was delayed. David Helpap from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay said the decision is unusual because it is solely up to the governor.
Helpap said he believes the delay is in Walker's best interest because there will likely be political ramifications no matter what choice is made.
"It's going to be challenging I think, because both the Ho-Chunk and the Potawatomi have lobbied the governor heavily and provided campaign contributions, but it's hard to pass up a large development in a certain part of the state, especially for a tribe that's historically low income," said Helpap.
The casino project has a lengthy history. Kenosha County residents voted to approve it back in 2004.
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