After the Oneida Nation met with the NFL Wednesday, they found their news conference about the Washington Redskins' name drawn slightly off course. Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney of New Hartford interrupted the meeting. YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us more about what happened and why she did it.
NEW YORK STATE -- Coming out of their meeting with the NFL, Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said he was disappointed in the lack of progress, but resolute.
"We all believe that the team name, the Washington team name, should place itself on the right side of history," Halbritter said.
He told reporters they would redouble their efforts, but soon found himself under attack. Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney of New Hartford interrupted the news conference. She claims the Redskins name isn't what people should be paying attention to.
"They're just distracting from the issue, the issue is, and I asked him publicly, is Ray Halbritter a true Oneida Indian blood member?" she questioned.
She claims she has papers, which show he's not.
"Why is that significant? It's because he's trying to remove my client from his property," she said.
She said in her other capacity as a lawyer, she's representing a man suing Halbritter and his operations. She wants to block the state's deal with the Oneidas that would include some of her client's land.
"Who is Ray Halbritter? I claim a fraud and someone who has used the Oneida people and used the citizens and the rest of the people from Central New York to prop up an illegal gambling casino that doesn't pay taxes and that's really what he's trying to distract everybody from," she said.
Under their deal, they would contribute significantly more money to the state.
The Oneida Nation asked her to leave and responded later by giving us a statement that said, "It is revealing that she is making a public spectacle of defending those who want to continue using a racial slur against her fellow citizens of Central New York."
They didn't respond to her other claims.
Tenney says she's secured a meeting with her client and the NFL, but it's unclear how that will affect their case against the Oneidas.