The Pope County Quorum Court will meet at 5 p.m. today in a special meeting to again consider repeal of the voter-approved ordinance that requires a countywide vote before the Quorum Court may endorse a casino application in the county.
Despite that ordinance, and without a vote, the Quorum Court endorsed a Cherokee Nation proposal over four other potential applicants. A lawsuit is pending on whether the county ordinance must be followed or if it is unconstitutional.
Add to tonight’s stew: A letter from William Ogles, a Jacksonville lawyer, who’s filed ethics complaints against three members of the Quorum Court: One, Ernie Enchelmayor, because his wife is on the board of one of many agencies that would receive money from the Cherokees in an economic development package approved by the Quorum Court; another, Caleb Moore, whose father is believed to have worked on real estate matters for the Cherokees, and another, Doug Skelton, who may have done legal work to another casino applicant from Mississippi. NOTE CORRECTION: I wrote incorrectly originally that the letter was written by John Ogles, William Ogle’s father.
According to Ogles, the state Ethics Commission has found probable cause to investigate these complaints. He urged the JPs named in the complaint to recuse from voting tonight on anything that might have a benefit for a close relative.
UPDATE: KTHV is reporting the Quorum Court mustered the two-thirds vote to repeal the referendum ordinance. I don’t have the roll call yet, but they needed nine of 13 members. That was a tall order if three recused. FURTHER UPDATE: The Democrat-Gazette account indicates the three JPs named in Ogles’ letter voted to repeal the ordinance.
This should remove one roadblock to a casino in Pope County. But it doesn’t affect a Mississippi casino operator that contends it qualified as an applicant last year under a different county administration.