By Torsten Ove
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Lawrence County developer ordered to repay millions stolen from Minnesota casino


A Chippewa Indian tribal court in Minnesota has denied a motion for a new trial filed by a Lawrence County developer and ordered him to pay an $18 million judgment leveled against his company last year.

The court ruled that Angelo Medure, owner of Medure Development and Gaming World International, must post a surety bond in the amount of $18,562,767, the amount of the judgment entered against Gaming World on Nov. 18, 2010.

Mr. Medure's lawyers have 20 days to appeal to a higher tribal court. Should that appeal fail, the case could end up in federal court.

The recent ruling is rooted in a long-standing battle over the development of the tribe's Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minn., and allegations that La Cosa Nostra families, including the Pittsburgh mafia, were in control of Indian casinos across the U.S.

Last year, the tribal court said Mr. Medure, who lives in Coral Gables, Fla., conspired with Darrell Wadena, former chairman of the White Earth Band of Chippewa, and two other White Earth leaders to steal $10 million in profits from the tribe.

Mr. Wadena and the others were found guilty in federal court in the 1990s, but Mr. Medure was never charged.

White Earth removed Gaming World from the casino project in 1996 and sued the company and Mr. Medure to recoup its money.

The suit started in White Earth Tribal Court and switched to the federal court system until a federal appellate court returned it to tribal court, where it has remained.

In her ruling, Judge Anita Fineday reiterated her earlier ruling that Gaming World, which was under contract to manage the casino, had no employees there but still received $10 million that should have gone to the tribe. The $18 million judgment includes interest calculated from 1996.

Zenas Baer, a lawyer representing White Earth, said he will pursue Mr. Medure's assets to ensure that the tribe gets its money back. To do that, he'll have to file petitions to have the tribal court ruling recognized in state courts where those assets are located, such as Mr. Medure's home in Florida and his construction and paving companies in New Castle and various commercial properties that he owns in Lawrence County.

Mr. Medure's lawyer in Minnesota, Robert Manly, didn't return a message.

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