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White Earth Indian band wins property tax court battle

In a long-running property tax dispute between White Earth Band of Chippewa and Mahnomen County,  Federal Judge Michael J. Davis ruled that the band’s Shooting Star Casino is not subject to property taxes.

But Davis also ruled that the county does not have to refund $9.7 million in property taxes paid on the casino since 1993, said the Bemidji Pioneer.

The White Earth Band filed the lawsuit to stop foreclosure proceedings by the state and the county after the band stopped paying property taxes on casino land in 2006. Mahnomen County is weighing its options and will decide whether to appeal the ruling at its next county board meeting on Tuesday.

Mahnomen County Board Chairman Wally Eid said the relationship between the county and the tribe needs to improve and that both entities need to start working together for the betterment of the residents.

“When you have two governments arguing and fighting in court all the time, nobody wins and everyone loses,” he said.

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