Seneca County officials concerned about potential for violence, conflict during Cayuga Nation property transition

Sometime over the next few months, one faction of the Cayuga Indian Nation will turn over operation and control of the Lakeside Trading convenience store and gas station and other properties to another tribal faction.

That is being done under a recent court decision by Acting State Supreme Court Justice and Seneca County Judge Dennis Bender.

Seneca County officials are hopeful it will be a peaceful process. But based on past experiences, they are concerned that the transfer of control between the rival factions could turn violent or confrontational.

They discussed those concerns in executive session at Tuesday’s Seneca County Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Board members met behind closed doors with Sheriff Tim Luce, Undersheriff John Cleere and District Attorney Barry Porsch.

“There has been violence in the past. We reached out to both factions before the judge’s decision. Since then, I sent an email to the Halftown faction and the county attorney reached out to the other group by telephone,’’ Luce said. “We’ve not got any indication of trouble, but we want to be prepared for the worst. We told them we’d like to see this happen amicably in a way that ensures public safety and that no one gets hurt.”

He said Halftown has said he wants a peaceful transition and pledged his cooperation. Luce said he’s contacted state police, the Seneca Falls Police Department and other area police agencies for possible assistance if needed.

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