September 02, 2008 –
MAYETTA: Last Friday, August 29, Tribal Council Secretary Jim Potter testified in a Shawnee County District Court hearing just how important the Prairie Band casino is to the economic stability of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Ryan Dyer, Tribal Council Treasurer, was also called by the court to be available that day but did not speak at the hearing.
Both men were at the hearing that involved a petition for injunctive relief that the PBPN filed against Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. on August 18. In the petition the tribe claims that Harrah’s broke a non-compete agreement it made with the PBPN last year after the tribe began managing the casino on its own. The agreement said that for a reasonable time period after it stopped operating the Nation’s gaming operations, Harrah’s was not to develop, promote, or encourage the expansion of any casino gaming and that it agreed not to own, operate, manage or otherwise engage in any casino business in the State of Kansas. Since then, however, Harrah’s has been involved in a proposed state-owned casino in Sumner County and was awarded the contract as developer by the Kansas Lottery Board August 22.
Harrah’s attorneys claim that they are in compliance with the non-compete agreement because the casino in Sumner County is not expected to open until January 2010 which they argue will put them beyond the timeframe agreed to in the non-compete agreement with the PBPN. Harrah’s managed the Prairie Band casino from 1997 to 2007. Harrah’s also requested at the hearing that if the judge grants the injunction that they want him to require the PBPN to post a $1 billion bond.
Judge David Bruns told the court that he will render a decision sometime this week.