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NIAGARA FALLS - Seneca President Barry Snyder this morning handed Gov. Andrew Cuomo a check for $349 million, the money that the nation’s gambling corporation withheld from the state during a four and a half year dispute over gambling rights in Western New York,

The presentation occurred at the Seneca Niagara Casino as Mayor Paul Dyster sat nearby.

“This agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter between the Seneca Nation of Indians, the City of Niagara Falls and New York, built on trust and mutual respect," Snyder said,

Cuomo thanked Dyster and the Niagara Falls City Council for getting by for four years without $89 million in the casino revenue sharing money from the casino.

“Somehow, they made ends meet and they managed to go on and run the city even though it was extremely difficult," he said.

“The dispute went on for four years and what did it accomplish? We wasted four years while we worked on the conflict. I think it is a new day in Niagara Falls, and I think it is a new day in Western New York."

Cuomo then handed an $89 million check to Dyster, the city’s share of the casino revenue sharing money.

“The work you have done here has truly helped save our city," Dyster said to Cuomo. “I give the governor credit for truly being a Western New York governor and focusing on our region like no governor in modern history."

Cuomo has similar visits planned for Buffalo and Salamanca later today.

The dispute revolved around three state run racetrack casinos that marketed themselves as casinos and offered slot like machines, in violation of the state’s compact with the Senecas.

An analysis by The Buffalo News showed that the agreement reached in June was at best a wash for the state, and in fact allowed the Senecas to keep more than $200 million in casino revenue sharing that they were supposed to pay the state.

email: cspecht@buffnews.com