Lest there be any doubt that the Cherokee Nation will forge ahead with its fight to win the casino permit in Pope County, currently in the hands of the Gulfside Casino Partnership of Mississippi, it sought to send a strong message with an ad in Sunday’s Courier in Russellville.

The text:

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE RESIDENTS OF POPE COUNTY
& THE RIVER VALLEY:

Many of you have expressed great disappointment in the Racing
Commission’s recent issuance of the casino gaming license to Gulfside
Casino Partnership. Our team at Cherokee Nation Businesses is equally
displeased – but not defeated.
Over the past year and a half, we have had the distinct pleasure of
planting our roots and becoming engrained in the community. We have
enjoyed meeting each and every visitor that has walked through the
doors of our local office in downtown Russellville, as well as each person
we have interacted with at various community functions across the
River Valley.
Being a dedicated, trustworthy community partner is at our core, and
we have taken that to heart while developing relationships with local
officials, community leaders and the great people of Arkansas.
Currently, we find ourselves enteringanew phase. And in the spirit of
continued transparency and honesty, we owe it to the community to
provide a fair assessment of where things stand as well as a forecast
of where we hope to be in the future.
First and foremost, we want to express our gratitude for the unwavering
support we have received from all of you. Your commitment to us has
been equally as genuine as our commitment to you. From the bottom
of our hearts, we thank you.
It is unfortunate that your local support seems to have received little
to no consideration at the state level during this process. And it is
deeply disappointing and confusing as to how the sole recipient of
support letters from incumbent officials – as well as the unanimous
recommendation of the Commission’s hired expert across all four
scoring criteria – is not the operator holding the license today.
That said, this fight is not over. We pledge to keep moving forward and
pursuing every legal avenue we can to obtain this license. Our genuine
commitment remains fully intact.
Pope County deserves a responsible operator that has a stellar track
record of keeping promises made to communities, employees and local
vendors. A responsible operator that provides peace of mind because
of its thoughtful and calculated approach – especially amidst an
economic downturn.
Cherokee Nation Businesses has approached our proposed Legends
Resort & Casino project no differently. It is our sincere desire to have the
opportunity to fulfill our commitments to you, the County and cities within
it, including the financial commitment per the Economic Development
Agreement we executed with elected officials in Pope County.
In the meantime, we are still here. Thank you for your continued
support, words of encouragement and validation that Cherokee Nation
Businesses is the operator of choice for Pope County.

CHUCK GARRETT
CEO, Cherokee Nation Businesses

A court fight lies ahead. (And don’t forget there’s also a court fight seeking to upend a casino by ANYONE. I’ll spare the rehash for now.)