| The Shelby Star
As plans for the Kings Mountain casino off of I-85 on Dixon School Road move forward, the lawsuit brought forth by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians against the Catawba Nation and the U.S. Department of Interior continues to move forward in federal court.
The Cherokees hope to put a stop to the $273 million Two Kings Casino Resort.
In December, Washington, D.C., federal District Judge James Boasberg expedited a suit against the Catawba Nation and U.S. Department of Interior filed by the Cherokees.
Boasberg’s decision advanced a filing deadline for the final documents in the case to be turned into the court by Jan. 19, instead of Jan. 25, according to Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Administrator Elizabeth Harris. This step could lead to a hearing date being set as early as February.
“This is a minor change that does not affect any other deadlines in the case including the filing of relevant briefs and motions,” wrote Harris in an email to The Star. “To explain further, this was a very small procedural change that it seems like Cherokee has tried to use to make it seem like a much bigger deal.”
The Cherokees filed the suit in March 2020, just days after the Catawbas announced that the 16-acres of land for the casino had been taken into federal trust.
In the lawsuit, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which owns two casinos in North Carolina, claims that the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation is encroaching on its native land.
While the suit against the casino moves forward in court, the facility continues on schedule for a fall 2021 opening.
“This does not change the timeline for opening our introductory facility in any way because we are moving forward with opening this phase while the lawsuit is still under review,” Harris wrote.
“It will require between $80 million and $100 million of investment, including infrastructure improvements at the site such as road and exit work to accommodate additional traffic,” Harris wrote.
This investment will be footed by Sky Boat Gambling, the developer of the casino.
Joyce Orlando can be reached at 704-669-3341 or find her on Twitter @Star_J_Orlando.