Bender agrees to stay Cayuga Indian Nation property transfer order

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Dennis Bender has agreed to stay his Sept. 8 order transferring Cayuga Indian Nation businesses and properties from one rival faction to another, if one faction posts a $2 million bond.

In a seven-page ruling issued late Tuesday, Bender also denied a request from Seneca County Attorney Frank Fisher to have a bond posted to cover any additional costs to the Sheriff’s Department for enforcing Bender’s order. Fisher argued there may be added costs because of the potential for confrontations, and possibly violence, between the two factions during the transfer.

Bender, who is also Seneca County judge, heard oral arguments Tuesday morning before issuing his decision.

His Sept. 18 order requires the Unity Council faction to vacate the five properties it has occupied since 2014, to end control over those properties and transfer control to the Cayuga Nation Council faction, led by Clint Halftown.

Lawyers for the Unity Council and several of its members sought the stay so they can file an appeal of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs ruling that the Halftown faction is the federally recognized leadership group of the Cayuga Nation.

Bender also granted a temporary stay to address the issue of posting of a bond related to the property transfer.

The Unity Council sought a stay of the preliminary injunction or order Bender granted. They also asked to re-argue the underlying application from the Halftown group that led to the preliminary injunction or order.

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