Shinnecock Tribe Targets Private Clubs

According to the Associated Press, Shinnecock Indian tribal leaders have filed a suit that claims ownership of 3,600 acres of some of the United States' most desirable real estate.

The area not only includes multimillion-dollar mansions, it includes Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the National Golf Links of America and Long Island University's Southampton College. Also involved is the Sebonac Golf Club, a new high-end private club next to Shinnecock Hills, site of the 2004 U.S. Open. The co-design of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak is now under construction.

Apparently the tribe is hoping the suit, which claims the land was stolen in 1859, will make it possible to build a casino near the Hamptons.

In addition to the land claim, the suit seeks billions of dollars in compensation. If the claims are accepted, the tribe said landowners could be allowed to remain but the state would be asked to compensate the tribe for the value of the property, which the lawsuit alleges was assessed last year at $1.709 billion. The tribe is also asking for 150 years of rent and interest on the land.

The tribe broke ground for a casino in 2003, but the state and town filed suit blocking the project, arguing that they cannot operate a casino without the federal recognition. That lawsuit is still pending.

Portions of the above story originally appeared in Divot Mix, the online publication of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.