Court OKs Cayuga Tribe's Cigarette Sales

Oswego, NY – The State Court of Appeals says the Cayuga Indian Nation can keep selling cigarettes tax free to other Cayuga members at its stores in Seneca and Cayuga Counties.

The court was divided on the issue, voting 4 to 3 in a decision released Tuesday.

Dan French is the Cayuga Nation's lawyer. "Cayuga Nation is very pleased with the decision. It had almost complete confidence that these prosecutions would not be allowed to go forward. They were based on actions by district attorneys that I think most attorneys and legal analysts have looked at it and thought we're not well thought out," said French.

Philip Spellane, the lawyer for Cayuga and Seneca Counties, says county officials are disappointed in the ruling.

"We're considering a couple of different things that we'll be reviewing with the counties themselves, but I think the Court of Appeals itself is essentially begging the legislature and the department of taxation and financing to come up with workable rules," said Spellane.

Spellane says rules for collecting sales taxes from sales to people who do not belong to the Cayuga tribe need to be created by the State Legislature to end this debate.