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Mahnomen County will not appeal federal ruling

Shooting Star Casino

MAHNOMEN - Mahnomen County will not appeal a federal court ruling affirming the Shooting Star Casino's placement into trust status, which exempts the facility owned by the White Earth Band of Chippewa from state property taxes.

The decision came after a 3-2 vote by the Mahnomen County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Commissioners Karen Ahmann, Wally Eid and Everett Kjelbertson voted not to appeal, while Jerry Dahl and Charlie Pazdernik voted for an appeal.

The vote came after the board went into a closed executive session to discuss the case with the law firm, Briggs and Morgan P.A., that represented Mahnomen County in the proceedings.

Kjelbertson said that he took the legal cost for an appeal into consideration in deciding to vote not to challenge the federal court ruling.

Noting that there are many disputes between the county and the White Earth Reservation, Eid said that it's time to start talking to the tribe again.

"We want to discuss the direction we are trying to go," Eid said.

Kjelbertson concurred that dialogue needs to be restarted. "We have to talk to the tribe," he said.

Pazdernik said he wanted to appeal because he still had questions over how the White Earth Band funded the purchase of the land where the casino now stands.

"I thought it was right to appeal," Pazdernik said.