Manhattan, NY - In a press conference held on Wednesday, Manhattan Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that the city's attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the Lenape Indian Tribe. The suit claims that when the original settlers bought the Island of Manhattan from the Lenapes, the tribe did not disclose that the land was in the direct path of hurricanes such as Sandy, which brought hours of interrupted power and train service to its' residents.
"We feel somewhat duped." Explained Bloomberg's top council, Mortimer Swackenfeld, whose suit is asking for retribution for the three billion dollars in repairs that the city incurred during hurricane Sandy. "We could be asking for a lot more in the future," Added Swackenfeld, "if civil litigation is necessary after the initial criminal trial is over."
By what basis is this lawsuit brought about? Again, Attorney Swackenfeld explained. "The Lenape Indian Tribe lived on this land for thousands of years before they sold it to our ancestors. It stands to reason that they had very detailed knowledge about its' proximity to hurricane activity. By our estimations, if a hurricane like Sandy happened once every hundred years or so, they probably lived through quite a few of them." He angrily told reporters.
Mayor Bloomberg stepped in to further explain, while his chief council calmed himself. "We have looked back through every record of that fated transaction in 1626, when we gave the Lenape's our hard earned twenty-four dollars and there is not one piece of evidence that would suggest that the Lenape tribe disclosed this valuable piece of information. We have very strict laws here in the state of New York, which govern real estate transactions like this one. I'm sure that many of you have bought and sold homes in New York and are quite familiar with these stringent guidelines. These rules were put into place to protect the buyers of property, by knowing exactly what they are getting for their money."
Indeed, there is precedence that favors Manhattan's claims, in the suit brought forth by the State of Florida against the Seminole Indian Tribe, who sold Florida three hundred square miles of swamp land, tucked neatly into a deal for the southern half of Florida that sounded to good to be true. The State of Florida won that case and the Seminole Tribe had to hand over a fifty percent share of their casino earnings, not to mention that many of the tribe members are now having to work overtime and holidays at a local Burger King in the Miami area to pay off the rest of the debt.
But getting restitution from the Lenape Indian Tribe might not be as easy for Manhattan as it was for The State of Florida in their case. The Lenape Indians have no casinos with which to pay off the three billion dollars in damages if they lose. We spoke with Chief Hyawocka, one of the few Lenape Indians left on his small reservation, which sits just north of Harlem. The reservation is basically an empty lot, strewn with broken glass, jammed in between two downtrodden buildings on 269th Street. "That twenty four dollars was gone a long time ago." Chief Hyawocka explained from the sagging doorway of his old Winnebago. "I never got a piece of that money, not even one red cent. I got no way of paying Manhattan that kind of dough." He told us gruffly.
The Chief suspects that this is yet another attempt to kick him off of his reservation, so that the city can plow under the entire block and build a new freeway on-ramp to the Hudson River Parkway, which lays just to the west of his land. "They've been trying to get me to leave for years now, ever since Clinton showed up and made Harlem trendy and hip." The angry Chief said. "Every once in a while, some bureaucrat from the city comes by and offers me a some money to leave, but I ain't budging. This is what is left of my ancestral land and I intend to fight for it."
Indeed, it would seem Chief Hyawocka has an uphill battle on his hands, as the city of Manhattan bears down on him with an army of lawyers.
In another note to this story, Historians now have a clearer insight into a piece of history that has puzzled them for centuries. Professor Howard Brownnoser explained. "In every drawing we have from the ceremony in 1626, where the land was officially handed over to our forefathers, the Lenape Indians seem to have a funny smirk on their faces. Obviously, we can now assume that the smirk may in fact be evidence that the tribe members may have known something about the land that they were about to dump on the settlers.
Jury selection for the trail is expected to begin in mid July of next year.