Threats Alleged In D'Iberville Casino Fight - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/18/04

Threats Alleged In D'Iberville Casino Fight

The calm back bay waters didn't reflect the mood surrounding the Royal D'Iberville development.

"Yes it's nasty," Gulf Islands Conservancy attorney Reilly Morse said. "And it didn't have to be that way."

Morse claims members of that environmental group have been under attack because they oppose a casino immediately west of I-110. On Tuesday, he confronted D'Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave.

"When I saw the mayor and he reached out his hand to speak to me, I took his hand, and shook his hand and I told him that, in substance, one of his supporters had left a threatening note on my client's door," the attorney said. "And I want you to know I think they're cowards."

The mayor denied any involvement.

He had his own complaint about Morse's group.

"It's time for the citizens of D'Iberville to know how bad we're being treated," the mayor said, "how unfairly we're being treated by Gulf Islands Conservancy."

For almost a decade, environmentalists have questioned whether a casino should float west of I-110. They've been a thorn in the mayor's side.

"They accuse us of not being able to take care of the traffic, secondary impacts, the cumulative effects, the roads, the water and sewer," Quave said. "And we can take care of all of that."

The Royal D'Iberville site needs a tidelands lease and a Corps of Engineers permit before it can be developed. The mayor expects those approvals by March first, and construction to begin six months later.

Gulf Islands Conservancy hasn't decided if it will challenge the project again in court.

"We're not going to walk away from a fight just because somebody behaves inappropriately," attorney Morse said.

by Brad Kessie

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