Thursday, July 20, 2006
Connecticut Indian Tribe Renews Property Claims
UPDATE An earlier report stating property land claims by a state Indian tribe were filed against Westport was in error.
The Golden Hill Paugussetts, which are based in Trumbull, renewed federal land claims earlier this month for property in Bridgeport, Orange and Trumbull.
No federal claims were renewed in Westport, but there could be future state claims if the tribe chooses to renew them.
The tribe claims it has been “denied the use and enjoyment of any rental income and profits rightfully due to it from the land” and seeks “damages representing the fair rent value of the land.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has twice rejected the tribe’s bid for federal recognition, dealing a blow to the tribe’s plan to build a casino in the state.
Michael D. O’Connell, the tribe’s lawyer, said it would be months before any trial on the issue. He said the tribe would claim that the deals to give the land to settlers violated a 1790 law that Congress must approve all land deals with tribes.
The state attorney general’s office will help defendants in the case. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he will file a motion for dismissal.
The tribe has said in the past it would drop its land claims in return for 300 acres in Bridgeport for a casino. O’Connell said the offer is still on the table.
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Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport