The profits were derived from the Tribe’s Miccosukee Resort & Gaming property located in southwest Miami, Florida. Of all the Florida indian casinos, the Miccosukee’s is the only one without a compact with the state. In a lawsuit, the tribe says that it paid Lehtinen $50 million as general counsel over the past twenty years, but following his advice landed them in an expensive legal fight with the Internal Revenue Service.
The tribe is seeking class-action status in the suit filed Monday and says that Lehtinen’s “negligent misrepresentation” has exposed hundreds of members of the tribe to tax assessments, interest and penalties in the millions.
“As the case proceeds against me, the public will see they have come after the wrong guy,” said Lehtinen.
Now no longer affected by attorney-client privilege because he is being sued by his former client, Lehtinen said the Miccosukees have distorted the truth. “The basis for their not paying taxes was their position — not mine,” he said.
Lehtinen said his position will become obvious after he releases the 2010 memo on the tribe’s tax obligations and obtains minutes from his meetings with the Tribal Council.