Judges withdraw previous ruling on Miccosukee CC

Miami's Community Newspapers

Two Department of Interior administrative law judges have withdrawn the Miccosukee Tribe’s land trust placed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs last year on the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club in Kendale Lakes.

Chief Administrative Judge Steven K. Linseheid and Administrative Judge Debora G. Luther of Arlington, VA concurred with a Miami-Dade County appeal to negate the controversial July 27, 2012 decision.

The application that placed the 229-acre property under a Miccosukee trust removed the golf club from county regulation, placing it solely under the tribe’s authority.

In a finding dated July 10, the judges remanded the original decision to the Bureau’s Eastern Regional Director who originally approved the order and rejected a request that the land trust remain in effect while the county objections were reviewed.

That original action led to a petition drive by hundreds of Kendale Lakes area residents who believed such transfer of power would adversely affect their properties, especially if the tribe undertook new development, including the possibility of building a casino.

“I’m thrilled about the result of our effort and most of all thank the community for their involvement through networking and getting the signatures. Everyone has been united and persistent in their effort,” said Aster Mohamed, Kendale Lakes resident who spearheaded a petition drive of 700-plus names objecting to the decision that accompanied the county’s appeal filing.

Miles Moss, co-chair of the petition drive, expressed “amazement that this ruling came through so quickly. We thank [county] attorney Ileana Cruz for her expertise, thoroughness and hard work in protecting the residents of Kendale Lakes.The county Law Department really did its job.”

In denying the regional director’s request for review of only two sections of the county appeal, the judges agreed it was necessary to consider the county’s contention that the tribe was ineligible for a land trust designation since the tribe was not recognized by applicable federal laws enacted in 1934.

The judges then concluded the entire decision should be reconsidered and vacated the 2012 decision, remanding the entire matter to the regional director “for further consideration and issuance of a new decision.”

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