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Menominee looking to do business with Potawatomi on new casino

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- The Menominee Tribe is looking to do business with the Potawatomi. Menominee wants Potawatomi to manage the proposed Kenosha casino. However, these were apparently details the public was not supposed to know about yet, and now, the Potawatomi, who have been opposed to the Kenosha casino project, are upset.

"We think the Potawatomi ought to step through an open door and sit down and negotiate with us," Evan Zeppos, a Menominee spokesman said.

Federal officials have approved the proposal for a new billion dollar casino in Kenosha, however Governor Scott Walker must sign off before plans can move forward.

The casino would stand at the Dairyland Greyhound Park.

"We have offered the Potawatomi a significant role in our project. They bring significant expertise and run a pretty good casino right here," Zeppos said.

The problem: The Menominee Tribe wants to partner with the Potawatomi, a tribe that is against the proposed casino in Kenosha.

"When you look at the history of Indian tribes in Wisconsin, there were periods where the Potawatomi was really down on its luck and it was the Menominee that stepped in to help and save them," Zeppos said.

Gov. Walker has said his approval of the casino license would be contingent upon all eleven sovereign tribes approving it.

Potawatomi has criticized the Menominee's leadership, after details of this possible business venture were leaked.

In a statement, the tribe said: "What they fail to disclose is that every offer from the Menominee has come with strings attached -- whether that is working with a corrupt developer or working with out-of-state interests that will harm Milwaukee and Wisconsin."

"They will say and do anything to try and stop this project and frankly I think it's sad," Zeppos said.

The Menominee Tribe says it still plans to pursue negotiations with the Potawatomi.

The Ho Chunk is another tribe that has been vocal about not supporting a Kenosha casino. The Menominee says it has also reached out to them, hoping some sort of resolution could take place.

The Menominee say a new casino would provide much-needed money for an impoverished tribe. Supporters estimate it would create about 3,300 permanent jobs and generate more than $19 million a year for Kenosha, Kenosha County and its schools.

The Menominee Tribe says it has commissioned two studies that conclude a Kenosha casino would not hurt Potawatomi.

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