NY State to Use Eminent Domain to Take Private Property for Seneca Indian Casino
Empire State Development Corporation, a New York State quasi-government authority, intends to acquire over fifty acres of land in Niagara Falls, N.Y., from several private owners by eminent domain to transfer it to the Seneca Indian Nation to be used as part of the tribe's casino. The Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision gave government carte blanche to take property from one private owner to transfer it to another as long as the government has a plan that claims economic benefit to the community. But in this situation, Governor George E. Pataki has cut a deal to destroy a newly reopened water park, two hotels and several homes to transfer property to a "sovereign" nation, which not pay taxes. John Bartolomei, an attorney and partner in the water park, said, "the benefit to the city is absolutely none." Sources: Interviews and Reservation Report, August 2005.