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Three-way deal announced to settle Meskwaki claim vs. Cattle Congress in Waterloo

May 9, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

In an announcement issued at 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 6, a Waterloo Development firm announced a deal has been struck between the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa - Meskwakis - at Tama, the National Cattle Congress and Deer Creek Development- the firm which issued the news release.

Why the announcement came at 5 a.m. on A Sunday morning is unclear. The press release says the agreement closed on April 25. (Deer Creek Development is not associated with the Deer Creek Family Health Care Center in Toledo.)

"To finalize this agreement, the Meskwaki Tribal Council more than met the NCC halfway," Harold Youngblut, president and CEO of Deer Creek Development, is quoted in the release. "Meskwaki and NCC were most gracious in their dealings with Deer Creek Development and enough cannot be said about all parties coming together to bring this agreement to fruition. Everyone needed to be flexible, make concessions and work with one another to accomplish this deal."

Article Photos

The Waterloo Greyhound Park on the city’s south side near the junction of U.S. Highway 63 and the 218 interchange seen in June, 2016. The park has not been in operation for over 20 years and now is planned to be razed after a deal was struck with the Meskwaki Tribe which had a financial claim involving the track property. Chronicle file/John Speer

No TIF or other government funding was used for Deer Creek Development's acquisition of the 64-acre parcel where the Greyhound Park facility currently resides. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed the release says.

The announcement says Harold Youngblut, along with his son and the development's attorney, Michael Youngblut, mediated the deal.

"We believe that this is a win for not just the parties involved but for the general public as well." Anthony Waseskuk, tribal chairman is quoted in the news release." The Cattle Congress will continue to provide entertainment to the residents of Black Hawk County, the City of Waterloowill finally see the eyesore known as the Waterloo Greyhound Park demolished and the tribe will receive a fair settlement under the original agreement with the Cattle Congress. The Tribe values traditions and the annual Cattle Congress Fair has been a tradition in Black Hawk County for generations much like our annual Pow-Wow held in August every year."

Nearly two years ago it was reported in The Chronicle / News-Herald the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa had the right to foreclose on the National Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo according to court documents obtained at the Black Hawk County Courthouse.

In a ruling filed in early June, 2016, District Court Judge George L. Stigler it is noted a total of $13,891,462 is due to the Tribe from the Cattle Congress for unpaid promissory notes.

A challenge to the ruling was filed on behalf of the Cattle Congress on June 28,2016, denying the Cattle Congress defaulted on the notes. It also questions the call made by the Tribe for the Cattle Congress to obtain additional funding as "not viable" and charges the court did not address the Cattle Congress' "equitable defenses."

The financial arrangements grew out of an apparent deal made in 1995 which the Cattle Congress maintains was an effort to ensure no other gambling interest received an Iowa gaming license in Waterloo. It is asserted in the court record the Tribe was interested in protecting the Meskwaki Casino at Tama from competition.

At the time, the National Cattle Congress held a gambling license for the Greyhound Park which was closed in 1996.

Eventually a gambling license was issued by the iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for operation of the Isle Casino with the Cattle Congress losing out.

The news release goes on to state:

Woodlands Construction Inc. a tribally charted corporation owned by the Tribe will demolish the dog track park. The Waterloo Greyhound Park has set empty for nearly 20 years. Demolition is scheduled to begin later this month.

"We would like to thank both the Meskwaki Tribal Council and Deer Creek Development for working together with us to find a solution that was in the best interest of our community," said Wally Mochal, board president, National Cattle Congress. "It will be fantastic to have beautiful new development under way along busy Highways 20 and 63. And, we could not be more thankful for our continued ability to maintain ownership of the historic Electric Park Ballroom and our fairgrounds, plus be able to operate the fair for years to come."

The exact businesses we can expect to see in this recently added parcel of Deer Creek Development's Greenbelt Centre is yet to be determined, according to Harold Youngblut. But he said it could be anything from "restaurants and retail to a hotel and a convention center."

"This is a win-win-win situation for all three organizations-and a win for the City of Waterloo and the entire Cedar Valley," said City of Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart. "Tearing down the greyhound park will be a catalyst to revitalize the southern entrance to Waterloo. And as the Greenbelt Centre continues to expand, it will bring new businesses and jobs to the city and increase our tax base-this will benefit all our residents. How exciting it will be to showcase attractive properties to our visitors coming to our city from our main south entrance."

Deer Creek Development is a family owned business of the Harold Youngblut family of the Greater Cedar Valley. The development acquired 122 acres adjacent to the greyhound park in 2005 and branded the area the Greenbelt Centre, which is home to Mauer Eye Center, Love's Travel Center, Hawkeye Stages and other professional offices.

"It took a lot of hard work by many individuals to complete this agreement," said Harold Youngblut. "I would like to thank those who were instrumental in bringing this deal together, including Anthony Waseskuk, Jay Finch, Mike Treinen, Wally Mochal, Ken Nelson and Michael Youngblut."



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