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White Earth awarded more than $18 million from lawsuit

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An $18,562,767.45 money judgment was recently awarded to the White Earth Band of Chippewa against Angelo Medure and Gaming World International, Ltd. (GWI).

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The award culminates a 14-year struggle of the people of White Earth to recover illegal profit distributions made to Medure and Gaming World International. The legal action began in White Earth Tribal Court and then removed by GWI and Medure to Federal Court and then remanded back to Tribal Court by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Medure was found to have conspired with former White Earth Chairman Darrell "Chip" Wadena to deprive the people of White Earth the benefits of the White Earth Land Settlement Act (WELSA). Although agreement provisions between GWI and Wadena required that Medure provide management services for the construction, development and operation of the Shooting Star Casino, GWI had no employees at the Shooting Star Casino at any time. In spite of having no employees at Shooting Star Casino, GWI and Medure were paid $10,153,772.61 in profit distributions. The management agreement required GWI to pay back the White Earth Land Settlement Act (WELSA) funds before any profit distributions were made to GWI.

The White Earth Band today announced that it would use every means to collect the money from Medure. A quick Internet search reveals that Medure is still active in the business community, operating, amongst other entities, Medure Development, LLC, and was recently named the Lawrence County, Pa., "2010 Entrepreneur of the Year." The people of White Earth would expect Medure to honor obligations to repay the amounts wrongfully taken from White Earth. Medure and GWI invested $41,881 to remodel the temporary casino bathrooms, yet took $11 million from the people of White Earth. Medure testified that he was an experienced contractor who could oversee the construction of the casino. Under the watchful eye of Medure, Wadena and others committed willful misapplication of tribal funds, theft, bribery and misapplication concerning programs receiving federal funds for which Wadena was charged and convicted in Federal Court of a 15-count felony indictment on June 24, 1996.

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe announced today they would be seeking to execute on all assets of Medure and GWI to collect the amounts owed.

Medure has appealed the Tribal Court decision. Collection efforts will continue unless a bond is posted to cover the money judgment.

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