The Kewadin Casinos Gaming Authority, the authority behind Kewadin Casinos and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, announced last week that a lengthy legal dispute may finally come to an end thanks to a new settlement agreement. The Authority confirmed Thursday it has reached an agreement with Lansing Future Development and JLLJ Development, two of its former investment partners.
The two companies and Kewadin Casinos were in a legal dispute over two development projects that never lifted off. Back in January, a judge awarded the two companies $88 million in damages from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians due to two casino projects that didn’t see the light of day.
However, upon negotiating further, the two companies and Kewadin Casinos came to an agreement under which Kewadin Casinos will pay them a total of $25 million. A statement released by the Kewadin Casinos Gaming Authority confirmed the settlement agreement explaining that the sum is expected to be paid by April 12, 2023.
“This agreement allows Kewadin to move forward and now focus 100% of its efforts on providing the best entertainment services possible to the areas we serve.“
Aaron Schlehuber, General Counsel at Kewadin Casinos
Kewadin Casinos’ General Counsel, Aaron Schlehuber, said that the settlement agreement enables Kewadin to keep its focus on offering its leading services. Additionally, he explained: “Casino revenues contribute significantly toward the services the Sault Tribe provides to its members, including health care and cultural programs, so this settlement ensures that the casino will continue to have the resources to maximize our operations and continue serving the community.”
Kewadin Casinos Files Lawsuit against Its Ex-Legal Counsel
Schlehuber acknowledged that the settlement agreement with the former investment partners represents a significant reduction of the $88 million in damages that were ordered by Ingham County Judge Joyce Draganchuk. In fact, he said, it is 75% less than what the damage claim was and at the same time, helps by avoiding a lengthy appeals process.
Separately, Kewadin Casinos also filed a claim against Patterson, Earnhart, Real Bird & Wilson LLP, its former legal counsel. It said that if that claim is successful, it would pay up to $10 million to the two former investment companies “from the proceeds of its malpractice claim” against Patterson. Given that this claim isn’t successful, Kewadin Casinos confirmed that a $5 million payment will be applicable to its former partners.
“The default judgment caused by the Patterson firm has severely impacted the reputation of both Kewadin Casinos and Sault Tribe, and it’s important that they are held into account for the $88 million in damages against us,“
Schlehuber said that Sault Tribe and Kewadin Casinos’ reputation was significantly impacted by the legal process. This is why, he said, the law firm that represented the company is also held accountable for the damage claim.