In the letter, the Council Quorum details its daily efforts to manage “critical Tribal business, including overseeing the Chukchansi Gold Casino & Resort and handling the everyday responsibilities of Tribal government.” The Council Quorum explains in the letter that negotiations with the minority faction, headquartered in Fresno, broke down “when word reached the Council Quorum that the (accused ''rogue'') group had cancelled the health insurance of dozens of Chukchansi Tribal members.”
“We continue to do the work of the Chukchansi people from our office on the Rancheria, fighting against the sabotage and wasteful spending of the minority group led by Reggie Lewis and Chance Alberta,” said Tribal Council Nancy Ayala. “The Tribe’s forensic audit also continues its work, every day uncovering more evidence of serious issues with how the Lewis-Alberta group has done business in their own self-interest.”
The text of the Council Quorum letter is as follows:
A Letter From The Tribal Council Quorum
Nancy Ayala, Chairwoman; Tracey Brechbuehl, Secretary; Dr. Karen Wynn, Treasurer; Charles Sargosa, Member at Large
As the majority group of the Chukchansi Tribal Council, duly sworn to uphold the laws of our Tribe’s Constitution, we write to you today to be as informative as possible about the ongoing political conflict that has made life so difficult for our Chukchansi people. As you know by now, three members of our Council left the Rancheria in February 2013. Shortly thereafter, Council Members Reggie Lewis, Chance Alberta and Carl Bushman set up an unconstitutional rogue Council headquartered in a $20,000-a-month office tower in Fresno.
Since then, the Lewis-Alberta Council minority has embarked on a relentless, distortion-filled campaign of sabotage meant to harm our Tribe, the economic engine that is our casino and the quality of life enjoyed by each and every Chukchansi citizen. In an effort to return stability to our people, your Council Quorum continues to work every day on the Rancheria, attending to critical Tribal business, including overseeing the Chukchansi Gold Casino & Resort and handling the everyday responsibilities of Tribal government.
We will continue to fulfill these responsibilities day in and day out in a professional manner. We will not be intimidated, nor will we be coerced into abandoning the Chukchansi people.
Recently, in an effort aimed at negotiating an end to this sabotage campaign, members of the Council quorum traveled to San Francisco and to Phoenix to meet with the Lewis-Alberta faction and its lawyers. While it was difficult to sit at the negotiating table with a rogue group that constantly puts its self-interest ahead of our Chukchansi brothers and sisters, we believed the stability and well-being of our people must be more important than personal sleights and past wrongdoings.
Sadly, the Lewis-Alberta faction did not negotiate in good faith, nor did they make a serious attempt to end a dispute that has placed our Tribe’s economy in serious jeopardy. Therefore, when word reached the Council Quorum that the Lewis group had cancelled the health insurance of dozens of Chukchansi Tribal members, and when we received forwarded copies of their lie-filled May 2013 newsletter, we felt there was no point in continuing talks that were premised on falsehoods and destined to fail.
What does this mean for you?
Unfortunately, it means that the business interests of our Tribe – the economic engine you rely on for per-capita payments and the security of your family – remains at risk. Because of the actions of the Lewis-Alberta group, relationships with casino vendors have been badly damaged, bills have gone unpaid or been paid late, and the bond indenture used to finance the casino stands in peril of default.
Your Council quorum, along with the lawfully empaneled Chukchansi Economic Development Authority and the lawful Tribal Gaming Commission, will continue to work to preserve our Tribe’s economy and our day-to-day business interests.
It’s likely, however, that the Lewis-Alberta faction will continue to follow their present self-serving course of action, using Tribal resources to harm rather than improve the lives of the families, elders and young people of our Tribe.
One such expenditure, estimated at more than $300,000 by the Tribe’s forensic audit team, is the illegal referenda put forward by the rogue group. This vote in no way followed the Chukchansi Constitution or the processes of our Election Committee. As Chairwoman Ayala explained in a recent opinion column in the Sierra Star newspaper (see attached), this latest Lewis-Alberta faction deception hired a ballot-processing operation (the so-called Indian Dispute Resolution Services) that employs a Lewis relative who worked on the referenda. More importantly, by offering a one-time per capita payments in return for votes, the referenda appears to have been nothing more than a bribe – one that apparently worked on only a bare majority of voters.
Again, your rightfully empanelled Council Quorum remains in place, undeterred by this sham effort. The four members of the Council Majority will continue to do the business of the Chukchansi people. What’s next on our agenda?
Per capita payments – By the time you read this letter, you will have received your most recent per capita payment. The Council Quorum will continue to fight to preserve this lifeline for our people.
Health insurance issue – As you read this, we are working to determine the extent of the health insurance cancellations caused by the Lewis-Alberta group. We will report back to you immediately with answers and potential resolutions.
Forensic audit – A team of experienced forensic auditors is at work probing the financial expenses made by Chukchansi, Inc. and other subsidiary entities that have long been controlled by Reggie Lewis and Chance Alberta. Because these expenditures involve millions of dollars and documentary evidence of Lewis-Alberta expenses, which are flimsy at best, this has not been an easy task. However, the audit teams has uncovered evidence of serious tax issues already being pursued by the State of California. When the investigators’ preliminary report has been prepared, we will get back to you with additional information.
Finally, the Council Quorum and our other lawful government entities remain in regular communication with the National Indian Gaming Commission and the California Department of Justice. We will do everything in our power, including taking legal action, to protect the interests and financial security of the Chukchansi Tribe.
On our watch, no individuals will be allowed to divert Tribal revenue and resources for their own personal gratification. That has never been the Chukchansi way and it cannot and will not be tolerated.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the Rancheria offices at (559) 683-6633. Thank you.