Oklahoma Attorney General calls out Governor Stitt, agrees to join lawsuit

July 26, 2023
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The Attorney General accused the Governor of failing to follow state laws relating to compact renewals.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond recently addressed Governor Kevin Stitt regarding an ongoing Tribal gambling agreements legal dispute, according to an Associated Press report. He accused the Governor of “failing to follow state law” and said he would now get involved in the litigation.

Stitt signed Tribal gambling agreements in 2020, which resulted in a lengthy legal grapple. Drummond contacted Stitt by letter and via personal phone call, to disclose that he was joining the lawsuit.

He wrote in his letter, “As you should fully understand, this long-running and costly litigation is a direct result of your refusal to follow Oklahoma law.

“The four Tribal gaming compacts you signed were invalid from the start because you did not have the approval or authorization from the Oklahoma Legislature to enter the gaming compacts.”

He went on to note that he was participating in the lawsuit “to represent the state’s interest at the request of House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat.”

The legal battle started after several Tribes, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Citizen Potawatomi and Choctaw nations sued in Washington’s federal district court because of Stitt’s compacts with the Comanche Nation, the Otoe-Missouria, the Kialegee Tribal Town and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Governor failed to renegotiate the compacts in 2019, claiming voter-approved deals from 2004 had expired. The negotiation pushed for the state to gain larger shares of the Tribes’ gaming revenue.

A federal judge later automatically renewed the compacts, siding with Tribal leadership. According to Drummond, Stitt later hired private law firms in the suit, racking up close to $600,000 in legal fees.

Stitt’s office has not yet responded for comment or to Drummond’s accusations.

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