Dickinson Wright Gaming Law Expert Central to Casino Agreement Negotiations in Middleborough, Massachusetts

Dickinson Wright Gaming Law Expert Central to Casino Agreement Negotiations in Middleborough, Massachusetts

6/21/2007
Dickinson Wright gaming expert Dennis J. Whittlesey has been hired by the town of Middleborough, Massachusetts to assist in negotiations with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians, who are seeking to build a major casino development in rural Middleborough. The tribe received federal status in February, which became official May 23. It owns or has options to buy 375 acres of land in the town and is seeking more. The tribe's proposal to pay Middleborough $7 million annually over the next 10 years in exchange for the right to build the development came just three weeks after the tribe's federal recognition became official. Town residents are encouraging the selectmen to take more time before making a final decision on the agreement. "All of the elements are in place here for a highly successful project," Whittlesey said. "The impact on this community will be extraordinary - perhaps greater than that of any other such project in the country, because of its size." Whittlesey is urging the town selectmen to proceed carefully as they review federal requirements, and make sure the terms of the agreement are enforceable - a problem that is plaguing California and other states. Whittlesey, who is based in Dickinson Wright's Washington, D.C. office, focuses his practice on Indian law, Indian gaming law, civil litigation and environmental law. He has more than 25 years of experience in developing economic projects, including casinos, for Indian tribes in the United States and Canada. He has served as Special Counsel for Gaming to the cities of Detroit, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lima, Ohio and Barstow, California, as well as a number of counties in California, Illinois and Michigan. He received J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Georgetown University Law Center, and a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Oklahoma, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Claims Court. He is a member of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys and a past Chairman of the Young Lawyers Association of The Federal Bar Association. He has been named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" from 2005 to the present for his work in Indian law and Indian gaming law. Dickinson Wright's gaming practice is experiencing significant growth. The firm's lawyers routinely provide highly sophisticated legal services addressing the complex array of issues facing today's gaming industry, including licensing, compliance, zoning, real estate, construction, tax, liability and risk management, governance, state and federal trade regulation, human resource and employment liability, trademark, intellectual property, antitrust and litigation. They also have extensive experience with the intricacies of the development, regulatory and jurisdictional issues unique to Native Americans and the companies contracting with federally recognized tribal nations, including Native American casinos and their related facilities. Whittlesey, along with Dickinson Wright Members Peter H. Ellsworth and Robert W. Stocker II, Dickinson Wright Members who are based in Lansing, Michigan, and James N. Candler, Jr., who is based is Detroit, comprise a team of some of the legal services industry's most recognized gaming law experts. Ellsworth's practice is focused on gaming, insurance, commercial and business litigation and regulatory and administrative law. He served as lead counsel for MGM Grand Detroit casino selection litigation and as legal counsel for former Michigan Governor William G. Milliken. Stocker focuses his practice on gaming, corporate and insurance law, as well as mergers and acquisitions. He is a member of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys and is a Founding Member and Vice President of the International Masters of Gaming Law. A nationally recognized author on Gaming Law, Mr. Stocker is an Editorial Board Member of the Gaming Law Review and a member of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Legal Authors Society. He co-authored two books including the Guidebook to Conducting Business in Michigan in 2002 and the Overview of Gaming in Michigan in 1998. In 2002, he authored the Captive Insurance Manual. Candler, a Member of Dickinson Wright based in Detroit, has extensive experience in gaming law including serving as counsel to MGM MIRAGE related to its Detroit hotel/casino complex. He also focuses his practice on real estate and corporate law. About Dickinson Wright PLLC Dickinson Wright PLLC, founded in 1878, has more than 240 attorneys in offices located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Washington, D.C. Dickinson Wright is a full-service law firm with over 40 practice areas. For more information, visit www.dickinsonwright.com
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