Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is New Jamul Casino Construction Desecrating Burial Grounds?

A new lawsuit alleges that construction of Jamul’s new San Diego County casino desecrated Native American burial ground.The lawsuit was filed last week on behalf of two tribal members who say their ancestors were interred in unmarked gravesites on the property.

Construction of the $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul off State Route 94 is still in the early stages, but the project has already spawned four lawsuits at both the state and federal levels. Jamul residents argue the casino would create major traffic problems and does not comply with state regulations.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs agrees.

"The lawsuit adds to what Jamul residents have been saying for years: A massive gaming complex does not fit with the character of the community and will add thousands of cars to a narrow, windy, two-lane highway," Jacobs said in a statement, adding she hasn't read the lawsuit yet.

Jacobs also said there are well-known burial grounds next to the casino site.
The latest lawsuit claims the ground was excavated and the contents were dumped at the freeway interchange project at State Routes 125 and 905 near the border.

The defendant in the case is CalTrans, which holds the encroach permit under which the casino developer is working. Opponents say the tribe and CalTrans are motivated by money and ignored warnings about the gravesites.

A spokeswoman for CalTrans said she could not comment on pending litigation. Both the casino developer and tribal leadership did not respond to NBC 7’s requests for comment.

A Superior Court Judge is expected to hear the first arguments in the burial site case Wednesday morning.


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