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Former Seneca leader loses bid to regain benefits

When Bergal Mitchell III was indicted two years ago, the Seneca Nation of Indians took immediate steps to punish the former tribal leader.

Mitchell went to court to reverse that punishment - the Nation took away annuity payments and business licenses - but a federal judge recently dismissed his civil suit against the Senecas.

Mitchell argued that he was denied due process by the Nation, but U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled that the courts have no jurisdiction over his dispute with the Senecas.

Mitchell, a one-time tribal councilor and the former second-in-charge of the Seneca Gaming Corp., faces fraud and money laundering charges in connection with his alleged role in skimming $800,000 from a land deal that led to the Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston.

The golf course - a $25 million development built on former woodlands along the Robert Moses Parkway - opened in June 2010.