The Aquinnah selectmen have retained a Boston attorney to represent the town in potential litigation against the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) over the planned bingo hall.

In a letter sent last week to attorneys for the tribe, Douglas J. Kline, a litigation partner at Goodwin, raised questions about whether the property that has now been cleared for the planned bingo hall is in fact eligible for gaming under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

“We understand that the tribe has recently been actively clearing a parcel of land on State Road . . . and . . . that this land is being cleared to build a class II gaming facility,” Mr. Kline wrote in the two-page letter dated March 28. “We are troubled by what we have learned. Specifically we are concerned that the site is not on land on which gaming is authorized under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).”

The letter argues that under IGRA, a tribe can only operate a class II gaming facility on land taken into federal trust before October 1988, with a few exceptions. The property off State Road that has already been cleared for the bingo hall was purchased by the tribe in 2014 from the Wiener family, and taken into federal trust in 2018.

“This is long after the key IGRA date of Oct. 17, 1988,” Mr. Kline wrote. “Accordingly, the Wiener lands are subject to . . . prohibition on gaming unless they fall within one of IGRA’s very limited exceptions. But none of the exceptions appear applicable to the Wiener lands.”

The letter was discussed briefly at the Aquinnah selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.

Mr. Kline also noted in the letter that while the litigation before the First Circuit Court of Appeals last year involved settlement lands transferred between the town and the tribe, the Wiener property was not conveyed to the tribe under the terms of the settlement agreement, nor did it appear to be acquired using money from the settlement agreement, which dates to the 1980s.

“IGRA does not appear to authorize Class II gaming on the Wiener lands (or other lands not subject to IGRA),” Mr. Kline wrote in part.

Last month the tribe began extensive land clearing on the former Wiener property at the corner of Black Brook and State Roads. A press release from the tribe formally announced plans for a 10,000-square-foot hall with 250 electronic gaming machines. Construction on the facility was due to begin in March, but as of Tuesday this week a blacked-out wire fence blocked views of the property from the road.

In the letter, Mr. Kline requested that the tribe cease and desist further construction on the site. A response was requested by April 4.

On Tuesday, town administrator Jeffrey Madison said the town had received no response to the letter or further correspondence from the tribe.

“There has been no communication,” Mr. Madison said. “I have received no feedback from the tribe. They are not cooperating in any way, shape or form.”

On Wednesday, tribal chairman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais responded that the tribe has unequivocal authority to proceed under the law, and she criticized the town for interference.

“Despite clear direction from the SCOTUS and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the town is once again attempting to interfere with the tribe’s economic development, ” Ms. Andrews Maltais said in a text message to the Gazette. “Our tribe has worked diligently with our federal partners to ensure our site is eligible for gaming. As we have stated over and over again, we have all necessary federal approvals to move forward with the gaming facility on the current site.”

Mr. Madison said that he had authorized town counsel Ron Rappaport to move ahead with other court filings if necessary.

“The town counsel contacted me today and asked for permission to file with the court on matters . . . ” Mr. Madison said at the Tuesday meeting. “I told him, go ahead and do that.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Madison said the town continues to want to be proactive and to promote a dialogue with the tribe.

“We need to have a dialogue which speaks to public safety concerns which everyone in this community has. That’s all we are trying to do . . . That’s what the tribe’s letter seeks, that’s what any action in the court would seek,” Mr. Madison said.