$16 Million Summary Judgment Against Miccosukee Tribe
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MIAMI (March 20, 2001) — Colson Hicks Eidson today announced that a final summary judgment was issued in favor of Tamiami Partners, Ltd., and against Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida for an amount that will exceed $16 million, inclusive of interests’ fees and costs.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has ordered that the Miccosukee Tribe must comply with a 1993 arbitration award.
Cye Mandel and John Sisto, both deceased, were principals in Tamiami Partners, Ltd., which built a bingo operation under contract with the tribe in the late 1980’s. After signing a contract with the tribe in 1989, Tamiami Partners purchased 25 acres at Krome Avenue—now site of the Miccosukee Casino and Resort— and donated it to the United States to take in trust as part of the Miccosukee reservation, and built a 2,000 seat bingo hall. Tamiami Partners put up $6.5 million and agreed to manage the hall for 40% of the profits.
Tamiami Partners operated the hall until they were illegally terminated. They sought relief through arbitration, as provided in their original contract. The Tribe then tried to file a statement of claim in the Miccosukee Tribal Court even though the management contract explicitly stated that the Miccosukees waived its sovereign immunity for the purpose of enforcing the terms of the agreement, and if the Tribe failed to participate in arbitration or fail to abide by the terms of an arbitration award, then the suit would be heard in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The parties engaged in arbitration, which later gave the tribe one of two choices: either reinstate Tamiami Partners as managers or pay them $9.5 million.
After a decade-long battle, Tamiami Partners has finally received a court ruling reinforcing the multimillion-dollar arbitration award.
“Unfortunately neither Cye nor John are here today to enjoy this victory. I know how happy they would be today with the court’s decision,” stated Dean Colson of Colson Hicks Eidson, represents Tamiami Partners.
“The fact that the beneficiary of Cye’s estate is the University of Miami Medial School makes this victory even sweeter,” added Colson.