Seneca Cigarette Tax Dispute Triggers Work on Possible New Thruway Exit

Big Indian Smoke Shop Ramp Would Be Unathorized

Channel 2 News Photo/


(WBEN)  It looks as if a Seneca Nation of Indians businessman, involved in a dispute with New York State,  is apparently taking steps to build what could become an unauthorized exit from the Big Indian Smoke Shop to the NYS Thruway

Earth has been moved and apparent work on a possible ramp runs from  Eric Whites's gas station on Milestrip Road adjacent to the Thruway, approx. 6 miles south of the Angola Travel Plaza.  It does not include any overpass, and connects only to one side of the highway. 

White  didn't comment - but his attorney Paul Cambria tells WBEN it is related to an ongoing tax dispute between White and the state.  

"He is not someone who is going to do anything in a reckless manner... at the moment the main fight is in relation to the taxation," Cambria, a partner with Lipsitz Green Scime and Cambria said.

Earlier this month, an administrative law judge upheld a $2.4 million  tax ruling, accusing White of transporting untaxed cigarettes. White has claimed they were tax exempt, because they were an Indian product, manufactured on the sovereign nation and being transported from one reservation to another.

"Eric is currently exploring the authority of the Thruway easements over his land," says Cambria. ".. he feels the state is taking advantage of nation people."

The Seneca Nation of Indians tells Channel 2 they are aware of the construction work and want to stress that they have no role in the effort.  "Although we know the reason for his actions, we look for a safe resolution addressing this situation," the statement read.




Comments ()