Judge rules against Seneca County: Siragusa rejects claim against Cayuga Indian Nation over tax issue

Federal District Court Judge Charles Siragusa has dismissed a counter claim filed by Seneca County against the Cayuga Indian Nation.

The claim sought a declaratory judgment that land purchased by the Nation since 2008 is not part of a recognized reservation and therefore subject to local property taxes.

The Rochester judge rejected the county’s argument that the more than 1,000 acres purchased in Seneca Falls by the Cayugas is not on “Indian reservation” land as defined by New York Real Property Tax Law or Indian Law.

Siragusa said the 64,027-acre reservation around the north end of Cayuga Lake in Seneca and Cayuga counties was not disestablished by the 1838 Treaty of Buffalo Creek, as the county claimed.

The next step, according to attorney Brian Laudadio, representing the county, is for cross motions by both sides for summary judgment by Siragusa on whether the county can foreclose on tax-delinquent Cayuga Nation-owned properties.

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