The Arkansas Supreme Court today issued a brief order granting the Cherokee Nation’s appeal of Circuit Judge Tim Fox’s ruling in ongoing litigation over a casino permit in Pope County.

The Supreme Court said Fox had erred in saying the Cherokee Nation, doing business as Legends Resort, was not qualified to apply for the permit because the recently established LLC didn’t have experience in gaming. The Cherokee Nation has been in the gambling business for decades. It said it and the LLC were the same.

The Supreme Court said in a brief unsigned opinion that Fox’ ruling was outside his jurisdiction. Chief Justice Dan Kemp and Justice Jo Hart did not participate.

A statement from Dustin McDaniel, attorney for the Cherokee Nation, which is competing with a Mississippi company, Gulfside Casino Partnership, for the Pope County permit:

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We appreciate the Supreme Court taking this unusual step and correcting a substantial error in analyzing CNB’s corporate structure. There are many stages left in this process, but this Writ was important and significant.

Gulfside Casino Partnership responded:

Statement by Lucas Rowan, counsel for Gulfside Casino Partnership:

“Judge Fox is correct that neither Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC nor Legends Resort and Casino, LLC are qualified applicants under Amendment 100. The Supreme Court’s order does not change that. Gulfside remains the winner of the license, as scored by the Arkansas Racing Commission and as the only qualified applicant.”

Much more legal tussling to come.

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