California tribes lock horns over North Fork casino project

TAGs: California, Leonard Postrado, Maryann McGovran, North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians

A proposed casino has sparked a legal war between two tribes in California.

California tribes lock horns over North Fork casino projectThe Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians has brought North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to court over the latter’s plan to develop a casino on trust land in the City of Madera, according to news website Sierra Star.

In its petition, Chukchansi tribe asked the court to enjoin the Stations Casinos-backed Mono tribe from developing the trust land, which they claim to not constitute Indian lands for gaming as per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

They fear that the proposed casino will cause financial harm to Chukchansi’s gaming facility, taking away many of their guests.

“What is being attempted by the billionaire owners of Station Casinos is shameful,” Chukchansi Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said in press release. “They are attempting to buy the sovereignty of a tribe. We will continue to fight to keep tribal sovereignty in the hands of tribal nations.”

It turns out that the complaint filed on July 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Sacramento was one of the five lawsuits filed by Chukchansi seeking to stop or delay the North Fork project.

Judge Anthony W. Ishii, who is handling the case, has ordered the state and the Mono tribe’s financial backers, Stations Casinos of Las Vegas, to show why the development should be allowed.

In a prepared statement, North Fork Rancheria Tribal Chairperson Maryann McGovran said all the legal maneuvering of Chukchansi boils down to one thing – fear of competition.

“These most recent outrageous comments from Chukchansi, together with their overall strategy which frankly undermines tribal rights nationally, really are just an attempt to deflect attention from the real story here – Chukchansi’s desperate attempts to forestall the inevitable competition by wasting their tribal citizens’ money on two more lawsuits and endless pleadings in pending cases rather than focusing on building the very best casino possible for their customers, workers, and community,” McGovran said.


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