NEW YORK CITY - Donald Trump, the nemesis of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, is preparing a $50,000 ad campaign to take it all back.
Trump has agreed to make public apologies in upstate New York media and pay a record $250,000 fine to New York's Temporary State Commission on Lobbying for his secret funding of anti-Mohawk newspaper ads this spring. The settlement avoids a public hearing before the commission.
The commission's summer-long investigation of alleged violations of the state lobbying laws produced a series of disclosures. Leaks, confirmed by the settlement, show Trump paid about $118,000 for a campaign signed by the New York Institute for Law and Society that accused the St. Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawks of habitual violence and illegality.
Rowena General, speaking for the tribal council, denounced the ads as "racist."
The commission ruled that the ad campaign was part of undisclosed lobbying for a bill that would have stalled St. Regis Mohawk plans for a casino in New York's Catskill resort area, a major competitive threat to Trump's considerable Atlantic City, N.J., holdings. The Trump-backed institute, a Rome-based group considered hostile by many members of the Iroquois Confederacy, also funded a lawsuit challenging the governor's power to make Indian gaming compacts. The pending suit was brought by three citizens groups and two New York state legislators represented by Trump's personal attorney.
Thomas Hunter, president of the institute, admitted in June that he was supported by gaming interests but refused to name Trump directly.
The New York Post reported that the negotiated statement will read: "Donald Trump, Roger Stone, Thomas Hunter, on behalf of Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Ikon Public Affairs and the New York Institute for Law and Society, respectfully apologize if anyone was misled concerning the production and funding of the lobbying effort."
Trump lawyers Edward C. Wallace and Jay Goldberg and Brian Linder, counsel for the institute, could not be reached for comment.