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Connecticut Tribe and Trump Face Off in Court

24 August 2004

NEW BRITAIN, Connecticut – As reported by the Connecticut Day: "A platoon of attorneys armed with reams of paperwork appeared in Superior Court here Monday to argue Donald Trump's $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Eastern Pequots.

"Among the dark suits sat a lone Indian, tribal Vice Chairman Mark Sebastian, who listened for three hours as lawyers stepped to the podium and offered Judge Susan Peck multiple versions of who was wronged, when and why.

"Much of the first half hour was consumed by introductions as the judge sorted out who was representing whom. There were attorneys for two factions of Eastern Pequots; individual members of the factions; Trump; his business associates, Amalgamated Industries; the tribe's current financial backers, Eastern Capital Development; and individual financiers, including David Rosow of Southport and Florida industrialist William I. Koch.

"…The state's complex-litigation division is hearing the lawsuit because it involves multiple defendants and millions of dollars. It was continued to Sept. 10 when, after three hours, all of the attorneys had not yet spoken.

"…Trump and Amalgamated Industries Inc. are suing the tribe and Eastern Capital Development for breach of contract and a host of other complaints. Trump and Amalgamated had contracted with the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, the smaller of two tribal factions, to finance the tribe's bid for federal recognition and ultimately profit from a casino. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs recognized both factions as a single tribe in 2002, and last year the unified council, dominated by the larger faction, voted to retain Eastern Capital Development.

"The Trump and Amalgamated lawsuits are proceeding even though the tribe's casino plan is on hold pending the outcome of yet another major lawsuit. State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the towns of Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston appealed the tribe's recognition nearly two years ago.

"…Attorney Jeremiah Donovan, representing members of the Paucatuck faction, explained that his clients were outnumbered, 9 to 5, when it came time for the unified tribal council to vote on a financial backer…"

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