Attorney General Gentner Drummond criticized Governor Kevin Stitt over the “unlawful” gambling compacts signed with tribes and confirmed his plans to represent the interests of the state in the legal dispute.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced on Tuesday that it plans to support the interests of the state in a legal battle over unlawful gaming compacts that caused in losses of state resources.
Back in 2020, Governor Kevin Stitt’s office reached revised gaming compacts with four Native tribes, the Otoe-Missouria, the Kialegee Tribal Town, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, as well as the Comanche Nation.
This prompted four other tribal nations, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomi, to file federal lawsuits, disputing Gov. Stitt’s control over signed gambling compacts.
The main problem with the compacts controlled by Gov. Stitt was that he didn’t have the legislative power to enact them.
The legal battle was an ever present issue, with the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling twice that the gambling compacts are invalid, despite the Governor submitting them to the federal government to be approved.
Now, the state’s Attorney General, has announced that he will be involved with the lawsuit to defend the interests of the state and informed the Governor of his decision via a personal phone call and an official letter.
In his letter, Drummond said that Gov. Stitt can converse with the tribes but cannot violate the established laws that are currently in play in Oklahoma.
The Attorney General said: “I am taking this action in order to uphold the law and defend our constitution,” .
Additionally, Drummond criticized the Governor for damaging the relations between the state and tribal organizations while at the same time not following the law.
He claimed that the Governor didn’t introduce gambling laws that would bring benefits to Oklahomans but chose to engage in “costly legal battles.”
Drummond added: “Millions of dollars of state resources have been squandered on these futile efforts.”
According to the recent statement released by the Attorney General, an estimated $600,000 has been accumulated in expenses for private law firms that are currently defending the ‘unlawfully’ signed gambling compacts. He claimed that other legal battles have resulted in millions of losses under the reigns of Gov. Stitt.
The Attorney General pointed out that he represents a “broad coalition of state leaders” that have an ultimate goal to repair the damage that has been done due to the unlawful gambling compacts with the tribal operators.