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City and County of Kenosha Collude to Jam Through a Casino Proposal Cloaked in Secrecy

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On Tuesday, the City of Kenosha announced a last minute public hearing had been scheduled for today on a secretly negotiated deal for a Kenosha Casino. Shortly thereafter, the Kenosha County Board was notified that the County’s IGA, also negotiated in secret, would be shared with the whole committee on November 14, the legislative committee on the 15th, and the finance committee on the 16th. The agreements will likely be voted on by the City tonight after the hearing and the County on November 21.

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According to several sources, these abrupt announcements came as a surprise to many, including several Common Council Members and County Board Supervisors, who struggled to understand why there is suddenly a rush to approve a casino without any public input or time to consider details of the proposal.
KCE has spoken to four County Board Members that are wondering what the rush is. Supervisor Laura Belsky, who represents the County’s fourth district told KCE, that she is upset with the lack of transparency. “Not only are the residents unaware of the details, but neither are their elected officials. I don’t know the details,” said Laura Belsky. Supervisors Stocker, Franco, and O’Day are also opposed to the urgent nature of the project.

“There is no local, state, or federal timeline requiring these Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) to be fast tracked. If this is such a good deal for Kenosha County, then why has this process been so cloaked in a cloud of secrecy and deception- starting with the Florida Seminole Tribe’s attempt to disguise itself as the Kenosha Landco, LLC?” asked Lorri Pickens, spokesperson for Citizens Against Expanded Gambling.“ “Conveniently, the county will likely vote on the IGA a few days before Thanksgiving, the biggest American holiday.” said Pickens.

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The public hearing process is intended to collect public concerns and mitigate issues that may be harmful to the community. “Alarmingly, a significant number of city and county elected officials have intentionally been left out of the conversation. Locally elected proponents of the casino seem to only care about revenue at any cost” said Pickens.

“It’s time to slow this process down to give the city, county, and public time to fully review this proposal,” Pickens said.

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Citizens Against Expanded Gambling is encouraging Kenosha residents to attend the public hearing tonight at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, 625 52nd Street, Room 200.

See some top concerns here: Questions-about-Casino-Proposal.pdf (citizensagainstgambling.com)

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52 Responses

  1. citizens against gambling? wow, if you have a problem with gambling there are MANY recsources around for you to get help.
    Shall we get rid of all the bars and liquor stores that cause problems for people as well? The Hard Rock Casino is about Entertainment. Seeing different music artists perform and yes gambling for people that know how to just have fun with it.

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    1. Entertainment that causes a 30% increase in area violent crime? That gives the land to a different NATION in the middle of our neighborhood? That puts local restaurants out of business? That dramatically increases teen addiction to gambling, bankruptcies & drunk driving? That will trash property values in the surrounding area?

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      1. This state already has a problem with drunk driving. That’s why the first offense is a slap on the wrist compared to other states. Wisconsin loves its drunks.

    2. I’m not opposed to the notion of a casino, but I am opposed to backroom deals with the mayor and shady agreements made in the dark of night.

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    3. So…because we already have a lot of addiction forming places of business we SHOULD bring in a GIANT ONE? Get real.

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    4. The attorney hired by the city who said he was an expert in Indian gaming law told the aldermen last night that the tribe may never build anything other then a building with slot machines. Sounds like a rush job with lots of backdoor deals cut with an out of state tribe. Remember how bad it was with that Alabama group that ran the failed dog track? This will be worse as the tribe building and running this casino lives and works on tribal sovereign land in Florida.

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    5. It’s not about gambling. It’s about power, and perpetuating an ongoing scam of filtering illegal gambling through some lame “sovereign nation” routine to give us chump change while some outsiders run games you & I cannot.

  2. Please be at this meeting tomorrow !
    Shockingly, the City of Kenosha has scheduled a public hearing with 48 hour notice on the Kenosha casino! Please plan to attend even if you don’t live in city limits! It’s coming to the county board next week. See link below for details!

    There’s no reason to rush this other than they don’t want you to know what they don’t want you to know!

    One cannot pretend to care about children in our community & support a Casino here. This proposed casino was rejected by Governor Walker in 2015 after a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact showed that due to a competition clause in the current compacts, Wisconsin taxpayers would be forced to pay out up to $500 million to other tribes.

    Moreover, casinos prey on the repeat business of local residents, are economically devastating for the citizens they prey on, and in our already saturated market, will not serve as a draw for tourism – certainly not the tourists one would want.

    Casino damage to the community and residents is even worse. According to the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling, violent crime increases 30% after the opening of a casino and arrests increase 50% in the community after the opening of a casino. That is all before one even looks into the statistics about what Casinos in a community do to teenagers in the area

    Now more than ever, Kenosha needs development that increases the quality of life for residents, not increased crime and drunk drivers. Therefore, we strongly urge the City Council, the Kenosha County Executive & Board, the Legislature and Governor Evers to protect the citizens of Kenosha and Wisconsin and oppose the Kenosha casino. Most importantly, we urge YOU, THE PARENTS to stand up for our children and community and show up at this suprise meeting that Kenosha has scheduled for tomorrow at 6 pm.

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    1. I know we don’t agree, but do u happen to know if citizens are allowed a chance to speak at the meeting tonight or tomorrow?

    2. Look , as Mayor of this fine city, I excel at backroom deals. I can even have my trolley run out to the casino !

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  3. I could care less if people gamble or not, but let’s do it by changing the state constitution to allow casinos like some other states have done. If we can turn into a blue State over abortion then let’s turn into a purple State over gambling, but not with a phony Indian tribe laundering, newly minted tribal land boondoggle

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  4. Way back when, when Scott Walker was governor he turned down the casino proposal for Kenosha.
    The Governor Must sign off and he didn’t. He gave a variety of reasons. Anyone can look back.

    But one point I remember was that there was a study cited that was done on the ancillary effects to a local area surrounding a casino. In short the cost to the local governments and families in hardships such as gambling addictions causing families to divorce, go on welfare, lose their homes and job’s exceeded the dollars brought in to those same local governments.
    I’ll start looking for that study but wanted to get that in here early.

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    1. He also didn’t want it to be in conflict with the casino in Milwaukee. Walker was a POS who allowed more back alley deals. John Menard being one of his payoffs. Wisconsin has a lot of good things to deliver on. It just sucks that we are being exploited by those who we elect.

    1. Greased by Indians? Spearheading this? WOW you’re showing old racist ways that you’re grandparents taught you. I pity you and your closed mind way of thinking. All of Wisconsin is considered Indian land. Love it or leave it!

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      1. I disagree. Their origin stories talk about the people that were here before them. So it’s ancient aliens’ land, get it right.

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      2. I pity you for thinking everything in the world is racist and always looking for a reason to be angry. “Greased” is common slang that refers to one being bribed and has nothing to do with race or nationality. Go be self righteous somewhere else.

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        1. I’m pretty sure I don’t need a lesson on the definition of being greased, spearheading or what it means to be self righteous. I’m part of the NEW Kenosha, not the OLD Kenosha that’s still upset with Chrysler leaving Kenosha in the late 80’s. I know change is difficult here. Extremely difficult. This has nothing to do with race or nationality on my end. The NEW Kenosha will prosper with or without a new casino.

  5. A casino is a money making enterprise for its investors. It is by design self-contained and there isn’t as much spinoff as you might think or hope.

    But if you don’t heed the lessons of history you are bound to repeat them.

    Remember the dog tracks? They were supposed to be the geese that laid golden eggs.

    Every one of them went under.

    And, yes, there was corruption. There is evidence that at least one racing board members was bribed to grant Dairyland a license. And when one prosecutor and sheriff’s detective were trying to investigate it they were stonewalled at every turn.

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    1. I get this argument, but personal responsibility is the solution to this problem, not banning a business that many people enjoy without going bankrupt. This also brings good music, culture, tourism, and good-paying jobs. Come on now. As for corruption… ummm… we are talking about Chicagoland here. Does anyone really think our government officials are not on the take? Not all of them, but come on man, don’t be naive.

      1. No, this has nothing to do with business in the ordinary sense, since only so-called Indian tribes are allowed to participate in the policing and lack of real competition. It’s not like we’re trying to decide if there should be another gas station or shoe store in town. The faster and harder this little nucleus tries to push it, the more ammunition the rest of us will have to block it on the state and federal level where the approvals will still be needed.

  6. I heard County Exec Kerman tell others that because this is in the city the County has no say.
    Kerman’s lack of any real experience is showing. She is weak and in over her head. No match for Mayor John.

    I hope the county board knows that the BIA will want the county to be apart of any agreement. The county does have a say and leverage.

    Don’t be rushed and take your time to understand every detail and protect the citizens of Kenosha County. Tell the Mayor to pound salt.

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  7. 10-15 years ago I would have been against the casino due to increase crime rates.

    However, now, I mean….what the fuck does it matter? This city has crime everywhere already. I could care less about a casino anymore.

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  8. So, more sin for the city of sin huh? What the hell why not. The mob has run Kenosha since the 30’s, why change now. But this time they aren’t Italian.

  9. It does not matter what the Mayor does. WI does not have corporate gaming like Vegas or IL. No land has been approved by Federal Indian Affairs as off tribal land. There are certain steps that need to be taken. You cannot just buy/use land and build a casino. It took Menominee from the mid 90’s to 2013 to get first approval. Lastly, the Governor has not signed off on anything. Let them have all the meeting they want.

  10. Despite the fact that a casino brings forth crime, poverty, and addiction,
    passing through something in such an underhanded way is extremely dishonest and egregious. This should never be handled in this manner. there is absolutely no trust in our government anymore, on all levels.

  11. My biggest concern was why wouldn’t a WI tribe reap the benefits? We owe it to them first… I find another article (some other news report) and see something about the WI Menomonie Tribe, so I go to their website because they must have something about this if they are involved, right? Sure enough…. https://www.menominee-nsn.gov/ look directly to the right on this page. “Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority Regular Meeting Nov 13 2023 5:00PM” with the agenda right below. GREAT NEWS! A WI tribe IS involved. Based on a Ho-Chunk Nation General Counsel meeting that I went to WI tribes want to tail/learn from Seminole. They look to them for a lot of assistance and work together (they even had a guest Seminole member at this meeting to speak!). All the nations want to do is help fund their own people and they do this with their businesses.

    Creating addicts? We sure as hell don’t close bars and liquor stores. If someone is already or going to be addicted to gambling chances are they are going to regardless of this casino.
    1. We can gamble right on our phones, now.
    2. People travel to gamble and they travel far… It’s very common for gamblers to take trips specifically to visit casinos.

    Crime rates? As if Kenosha doesn’t already have a ridiculous crime rate from our own and outsiders “meeting” for middle ground between two large cities.

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    1. So we are in favor if Native American Tribes reap the benefits of something that would cause our demise????

      1. How does it cause our demise? Isn’t our demise already being caused by our community and leaders? I don’t see this causing anymore demise than is already being done. 🤷‍♀️

      2. I’m genuinely asking by the way… Not trying to argue your point. Outside of “addicts” and “crime”, which I’ve already commented on in my first point, what other demise are we worried about? Taxes? I’d MUCH rather pay taxes towards this than into some of the pockets my taxes are already lining.

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        1. After learning the TRUTH about the Casino and not basing it off of a PowerPoint that was never shown to any committee or a “contract” that has no legality to it. I now I agree. The original email I was basing my opinion on was sent by John Morrissey. I now say… NO CASINO. There is ZERO benefit to Kenosha County in this deal. I apologize for being so naive.

  12. Casinos extract the (little) wealth of retirees and the poor, same with The Lottery. They prey on their HOPE.
    Did you know there is a Casino Laboratory outside of Las Vegas by invitation only? They conduct experiments there on human behavior to determine how to get humans to stay longer, bet more. It is well known that gamblers get the same dopamine hit from ALMOST winning that they do “winning”.

    These are SCIENTISTS being paid to learn how to better exploit YOU. You best know what you are up against, they don’t care about your bills, your health, or your family…they just want to extract as much wealth for themselves as they can.

    SUCKERS!

  13. Come on, gambling and prostitution are good for the community.
    A lot of greasy politicians and Kenosha “families” with vowels and ian at the end of their names need $!
    Tuition ain’t cheap at St. Nobody outside of Kenosha cares H.S. you know.

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  14. I heard the Kerkman, Gersten and Nudo have been working on this since Spring of 2013. Why was the Chairman forced to release it late Wednesday to the County Board? This new proposed casino is not even close to what was being proposed years ago. Smells to me like Kerkman and Nudo are once again pulling some shady, unethical maneuvers and the taxpayers are going to be paying the price. Disastrous leadership at the County level all the way around. I almost miss the days of Kreuser.

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