Marc Benjamin of the Fresno Bee continues his exposure of the actions of the despicable Chukchansi Indians of Coarsegold, near Sacramento. Here he details how the thuggish Chukchansi tribe has strongarmed local businesses to come out against the North Fork Rancheria, which is looking to reservation shop and open on Hwy. 99.
Representatives of two eastern Madera County organizations that receive funding from the tribe that runs Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino say they've been pressured to come out against another tribe's casino plans.
Members of the Coarsegold Rodeo Association and the president of the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce both said they've been asked to put their organizations on record either opposing or remaining neutral on the North Fork Mono Rancheria's proposed casino and resort on Highway 99 north of Madera.
Rodeo officials said they felt Chukchansi's $15,000 pledge for their 60th annual event, scheduled May 4-6, was at stake if they didn't oppose the Highway 99 casino. The rodeo association eventually told Chukchansi it couldn't come out against the Highway 99 casino plans, because that would jeopardize its nonprofit status.
Rodeo association officials said they still hope to receive Chukchansi's financial support.
Roger Salazar, spokesman for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, didn't confirm that tribal officials had made a link between rancheria donations and opposition to the Highway 99 casino. But, he said, the tribe has a right to enlist support for its campaign opposing the casino project, because a new casino would cut into Chukchansi's revenues and impede the tribe's ability to assist local nonprofits.
Read more at the Fresno Bee: Fresno Bee