Erie County DA Investigating Allegations Seneca Nation ‘Eavesdropped’ On State Gaming Officials
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday afternoon it is investigating allegations made by the New York State Gaming Commission that its employees were eavesdropped on by the Seneca Gaming Authority. A source close to the investigation said gaming officials found a listening device last year in a casino space that was leased to state officials.
Sources said the investigation has been going on for “some time” but one of them indicated it is intensifying now. The Seneca Nation said it would not comment on the probe at this time.
All of this is coming out now as the state and the Nation continue to disagree over casino payments. The Senecas believe they’re no longer required to pay the state a portion of their slot machine revenues.
The two sides have been discussing a face-to-face meeting between the Nation president and the governor for several months, but have not yet connected. A Cuomo administration official confirmed Monday a report that the state would consider permitting a non-Seneca casino in Niagara Falls if the payments do not resume.
The Senecas did have a response to that development, saying while their payment obligation has ended under the current compact, it remains in effect until 2023.
“The Governor has had five months to meet with President Gates, five months to articulate his position to President Gates, and five months to engage in productive dialogue with President Gates. Instead, he has routinely chosen media statements and attacks. Without even taking the time to sit down with President Gates, the Governor has instead hurled insults at the Seneca Nation and canceled a scheduled meeting,” Seneca spokesman Phil Pantano said.
Cuomo is scheduled to be in Grand Island on Tuesday morning. Pantano said, for the state, threats seem to win out over productive dialogue.