White Earth Tribal Court awards $18.6 million judgment in Gaming World case
A White Earth Tribal Court has awarded an $18.6 million judgment to the White Earth Band of Chippewa against its former casino management firm, Gaming World International, Ltd., and its then-director, Angelo Medure.
According to a tribal news release, the award culminates "a 14-year struggle of the People of White Earth to recover illegal profit distributions made to Medure and Gaming World International."
The legal action was commenced in White Earth Tribal Court, and then removed by Gaming World and Medure to federal court, then remanded back to tribal court by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"The People of White Earth are grateful to their leaders for their persistence in pursuing justice," the news release states.
Medure was found to have conspired with former White Earth Chairman Darrell "Chip" Wadena to deprive the people of White Earth the benefits of the White Earth Land Settlement Act (WELSA).
Although agreement provisions between Gaming World and Wadena required Medure to provide management services for the construction, development and operation of the Shooting Star Casino, Gaming World had no employees at the Shooting Star Casino at any time.
Gaming World and Medure were paid about $10.2 million in profit distributions.
The management agreement required Gaming World to pay back the White Earth Land Settlement Act funds ($11 million) before any profit distributions were made to Gaming World.
The White Earth Band on Friday announced that it would use every means to collect the money from Medure.
A quick Internet search reveals that Medure is still active in the business community, operating, amongst other entities, Medure Development, LLC, and was recently named the Lawrence County, Pennsylvania "2010 Entrepreneur of the Year."
Medure testified that he was an experienced contractor who could oversee the construction of the casino.
During his tenure, Wadena and others committed willful misapplication of tribal funds, theft, bribery and misapplication concerning programs receiving federal funds for which Wadena was charged and convicted in federal court of a 15-count felony indictment on June 24, 1996.
The tribe will seek to execute on all assets of Medure and Gaming World to collect the amounts owed.
Medure has appealed the tribal court decision. Collection efforts will continue unless a bond is posted to cover the money judgment.