Eminent domain OK'd for Seneca land buys: WSTM-TV (Syracuse NY), 12/1/05

The state's economic development agency says the state should move forward with eminent domain proceedings to help the Seneca Indian Nation acquire land around its Niagara Falls casino.

The Senecas were promised the land as part of their 2002 compact with the state. That agreement let the tribe build the casino and two others in western New York in exchange for sharing slot machine profits.

The tribe has bought about half of the 50 acres it was promised in Niagara Falls but hasn't been able to close on two dozen downtown acres containing homes and businesses.

After a public hearing and review, the Empire State Development Corporation concluded late last month that the Senecas' plans to expand their casino-based operations would be good for Niagara Falls. The agency said for that reason, the state should exercise its power of eminent domain on the tribe's behalf.

The owner of a water park (John Bartolomei) that would be shut down disagrees. He says he'll challenge the eminent domain proceedings in court.

WSTM-TV: www.wstm.com