- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Attorney General’s office says the Coeur d’Alene Tribe missed its deadline to collect legal fees in its fight over instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe disagrees and is petitioning Idaho’s Supreme Court to collect more than $95,000 in attorney fees from the state.

Accusing the tribe of missing a deadline has raised eyebrows, considering a missed deadline was the key argument in the tribe’s original lawsuit filed back in May.

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court backed the tribe’s point: Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter Otter didn’t complete the veto legislation outlawing instant horse racing within the required five-day deadline. In Idaho, a bill automatically becomes law - even if the governor doesn’t sign it - unless it is vetoed within the legal timeframe.

His failure to meet the deadline, kept the lucrative instant horse racing legal, giving the tribe a win.

In the dispute over legal fees, the tribe’s attorney accused the state of evading the court’s order.

“(The state) seeks to evade complying with the Court’s order by artificially pigeonholing petitioner into the procedures that apply to appeals rather than extraordinary actions like this one, and by claiming that the request is one day late,” wrote Deborah Ferguson, who is representing the tribe.

However, Deputy Attorney General Mike Gilmore contends that the tribe waived its claim to collect fees from the state because it did not file its legal bill within 14 days of the court’s ruling. In an email to Ferguson, Gilmore said court rules dictate that the tribe had until Sept. 24 to request a payment for fees.

The tribe counters that the state is misconstruing the rules surrounding the case. However, Ferguson also said that even if the deadline was missed, the court should approve a one-day extension.

“If the request is late, it is late by a single day,” Ferguson wrote.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information. The machines have spinning wheels, sounds and animations that mimic slot machines - which are illegal in Idaho. The 250 machines that were installed in Idaho have since been turned off because of the court’s ruling. Horse racing officials now say their business will crumble because they needed the portion of the lucrative machine profits to stay afloat.

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