Potawatomi Casino Suing Waukegan over Rejected Proposal

  • Three other proposals for the casino build were approved
  • Potawatomi Casino's proposal promised to create the most jobs, but bid the least
  • Lawsuit seeks another review of the proposal by the Waukegan City Council
fountain pen and 'rejected' stamped on a document
Potawatomi Casino is suing the city of Waukegan after its proposal for a casino at the closed Fountain Square shopping center was rejected. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Legal action taken

The city of Waukegan is being sued by the Potawatomi Casino. The lawsuit stems from the city council rejecting a casino proposal to create a gaming venue at the closed Fountain Square shopping center.

Potawatomi Casino’s bid promised the most jobs, but also offered the least amount of money

Last week, the Waukegan city council decided to forward three of four casino proposals to the regulators for consideration. The bid that did not move forward was the one made by the Milwaukee-based Potawatomi.

Potawatomi Casino’s bid promised the most jobs, but also offered the least amount of money to purchase the city-owned site.

Lawsuit details

The city council reportedly based their decision on which bids to move forward in part due to a report by C.H. Johnson, a city consultant.

Potawatomi Casino’s suit claims that the report contained information about the bid that was misleading. The casino operator wants the court to make the city council reconsider the rejection of the bid.

Potawami also states that the consultant’s report falsely states that the group was offering $5.625m to purchase the Fountain Square facility. According to the operator, the proposal offered the city 15% more or 15% below the appraised value of the property. The $5.625m figure is not cited in the proposal.

Waukegan attorney Bob Long stated the suit by the Potawami is “factually and legally invalid”. According to the attorney, the city completed an appraisal on the property. The value came in at the $5.625m mark, which is why the amount was stated in the consultant’s report.

Higher bids

The four bids for the casino build were presented during the September 11 meeting of the city council. According to Long, the three other bidders offered more than $5.625m. When Potawatomi found out about the higher bids, they reportedly started sending letters to try and change their offer.

Long says it would have been unfair to allow bids to be changed. He also hit back at Potawatomi’s claims that they were treated unfairly, stating:

The lawsuit’s claims that we treated them unfairly is bogus. It’s sour grapes.”

Spokesman for the Potawatomi, George Ermert, stated the legal team of the company disputes the comments made by Long. They intend to continue with litigation. The case heads to court on January 24 2020.

The Illinois Gaming Board will hear the three bids from those approved by the city council. The bidders are Full House Resorts, Rivers Casino Waukegan and North Point Casino. The casino for Waukegan is part of a gambling bill passed earlier this year.

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