Secretary Of State Will Fight Two Coast Casinos In Court

The Secretary of State is joining forces with Harrison County to fight two casinos in court. Both Imperial Palace and Treasure Bay have filed lawsuits that question whether casinos should have to pay taxes on their casino barge sites.

The Imperial Palace suit says that Harrison County's appraisal, assessment and collection of ad valorem taxes on littoral rights separate apart from the upland tax parcel is not authorized by law. It asks that the casino pay no future taxes on its casino barge site. And it requests a refund, with interest, on the taxes paid under protest in 1999 and 2000.

Secretary of State Eric Clark says he intervened in the case to protect Mississippi's control of the public trust tidelands. Otherwise, he believes the coast could lose responsible oversight of the casino industry.

A hearing on the Imperial Palace case will be held September 4, 2001.

The Treasure Bay case is supposed to be consolidated with the Imperial Palace lawsuit. So Clark's office will oppose the claims of both casinos.