Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 20, 2014

OTB files lobbying complaint against Rochester developer working with Seneca Nation

Niagara Gazette — Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation has filed a complaint with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics against a Rochester developer who has been helping the Seneca Nation of Indians in its bid to build a new casino in Henrietta. 

OTB officials on Tuesday accused Rochester developer David Flaum, the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Seneca Gaming Corp. of violations under New York's Lobbying Act. 

The OTB's complaint alleges that Flaum engaged in "unregistered lobbying activities" and accepted employment with a contingent-based fee from the Seneca Nation and the SGC in violation of the New York State Lobbying Act. 

“There is evidence strongly suggesting that Flaum and Flaum Rochester are lobbying on behalf of the Seneca Nation and the SGC,” said Michael P. Nolan, Executive Vice President/COO of WROTB.

A spokesperson for the Seneca Nation of Indians directed all inquiries to Flaum who did not respond to a request for comment from the Niagara Gazette on Tuesday. 

The OTB, citing media reports, said in August 2013 Flaum and his firm, Flaum Rochester, contracted with the Seneca Nation and SGC to create a gambling and hospitality development in Henrietta in Monroe County. 

OTB officials said JCOPE has no records indicating that either Flaum or Flaum Rochester formally registered as a lobbyist in New York. OTB officials suggested Flaum has performed "lobbying activities" on behalf of the Seneca Nation and the SGC, citing a section of state law that defines such activities as “any attempt to influence ... the approval, disapproval, implementation or administration of tribal-state compacts, memoranda of understanding, or any other tribal-state agreements and any other state actions related to Class III gaming.” 

Nolan said an agreement obtained by the OTB shows signatory lines for the Nation, the SGC and Flaum and indicates that Flaum Rochester will provide "liaison services." OTB officials allege that those services included helping the Seneca Nation secure either an amendment to the current Gaming Compact with the state or approval of a new gaming compact. They also suggest that the agreement calls for Flaum to represent both parties on related matters involving local municipal governments. 

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
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