Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole casino deal with Florida remains in holding pattern

TALLAHASSEE — Negotiations over a gambling deal between the governor and Seminole Tribe have been on hold for the past three weeks as both parties await word on whether the House and Senate will modify their take-it or leave-it offer.

"The ball is kind of in their court,'' said George LeMieux, former chief of staff for Gov. Charlie Crist and now on the legal team representing the governor in the talks.

But legislative leaders seem unlikely to budge from the blueprint they wrote during the spring legislative session and say it's their final offer to the tribe.

"I don't necessarily think we're in a negotiating mood," said House Speaker Larry Cretul on Tuesday.

Rep. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican who has been the House's point man on the issue, attended the early July meeting with the tribe and governor's lawyers and told them the legislation is their final word.

"They want a counteroffer and that's not what the legislation called for," Galvano told the Times/Herald.

The Legislature gave the governor until Aug. 31 to complete an agreement, or compact, with the tribe that would formally give it the right to operate slot machines and blackjack, baccarat and chemin de fer at tribal casinos in South Florida.

The deal also allows the tribe the exclusive right to operate slot machines at its casinos in Tampa and Central and southwest Florida. In exchange, the tribe would pay the state at least $150 million a year.

Lawmakers didn't rule out the option for expanded gambling elsewhere. But if lawmakers expand gambling, the tribe won't owe the state as much money.

The Seminoles want the exclusive right to slot machines outside of South Florida. The failure of legislators to guarantee that provision was the sticking point during the one-day meeting, several participants said.

Senate President Jeff Atwater's chief of staff, Bud Kneip, attended the meeting and supported Galvano's position that "the Legislature had acted," said Senate spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof.

LeMieux said he fears that if the state fails to close the deal with the Seminoles, the federal government will step in and give the tribe gaming with no limits, and Florida will receive no new revenue from the tribe.

Galvano believes that if the tribe rejects the legislative offer, the federal government won't step in and the tribe will have to take the state or federal government to court.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at meklas@MiamiHerald.com

Seminole casino deal with Florida remains in holding pattern 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges

    Criminal

    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?

    Editorials

    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination

    Civil

    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.