Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sen. Dean Florez PULLS controversial Bill Giving Tribes too Much Power

Senator Dean Florez has PULLED his bill from the California Legislature titled S.B. 170. This was the bill that was an attempt to give authority to Indian tribes or tribal groups to cancel Williamson Act contracts on land they purchase removing any “encumbrance” that would prevent them from then taking that property through the fee-to-trust process thereby taking it off the property tax roles.

Pechanga Sends Golf Course Manager on a JOURNEY?

Sources are reporting that the Manager of the Pechanga Golf Course, JOURNEY , Andrew Miranda, has been escorted OFF the property.

How bad does it have to get when Andrew's own brother in on the PDC and may have signed off on this?


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Avoid California Casinos like Pechanga During Swine Flu Season?

Make you wonder if entering a casino in California is such a good idea during this Swine Flu period, doesn't it?

Think about it, a casino like Pechanga has 4,000 machines, all being touched daily, by potentially sick people. On weekends, even more people, crammed together, well within sneezing range? That's not what's on my "favorite things to do during flu season" list.

From the CDC:

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated (like a SLOT MACHINE)with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air (Like from the BUSLOADS of visitors trucked in?). Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk (lobby desk, restaurant table, bar, blackjack table) and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Avoidance of casinos like Pechanga may be the right thing to do on numerous levels:

1. Pechanga has cheated it's own people, they'll cheat you
2. Pechanga has beaten customers like Richard Swan
3. Flu can be spread in close proximity areas
4. Pechanga shouldn't be rewarded with your business as they are unethical.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mark Macarro of Pechanga: Civil Rights Violator on Top 100 CA Power Broker List

Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro, dinner companion of Jack Abramhoff, is listed as one of the top 100 political power brokers in California.

79. Mark Macarro, chairman, Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians Nobody did more to put tribal politics on the map than Mark Maccaro. He was the face of the Propositon 5 and Proposition 1A campaigns. And when it came time for Pechanga to update a handful of tribal compacts, Maccaro was once again in the thick of the negotiations. Tribal issues have recessed from the frontlines of state politics somewhat, but if and when they do re-emerge, Maccaro is sure to be in the mix.

Macarro was the face of the Propositions a decade ago, when he promised that gaming would be good for tribes. Since then, he led the tribe to terminate more Indians than the white man ever did the last century. This is NOT an honorable man, nor is his leadership anything more than a corrupt enterprise.

Capitol Weekly has the list. But Mark Macarro shouldn't be on it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Battle of Democrat Party's Biggest Donors. Unions vs. Tribes.

What will the Democratic Party do NOW? Their biggest benefactor, Unions want Card Check, which means they don't have to work as hard to get employees to bring the unions in. The Democrats (especially in California) other huge donor, Indian tribes, have just adopted a resolution OPPOSING that same bill, unanimously.

Which way will this go? Card check is bad for this country. The secret ballot is critical to people exercising their voting rights. I'm FOR unions, but I believe that unions have to get out and impress upon those employees they are trying to enjoin, that they are beneficial. If one is FORCED to join because Congress made it easier for the unions, THAT is NOT what organizing is all about.

The National Indian Gaming Association has adopted a resolution opposing the Employee Free Choice Act unless it is amended to acknowledge sovereign tribal nations as governments.
The resolution was passed during NIGA’s annual meeting during the Indian Gaming ’09 Trade Show and Convention held April 12 – 16.

The resolution was introduced to the association’s member tribes April 14, and adopted unanimously the next day after members met in caucuses and discussed the resolution.

The EFCA is pending legislation in Congress and the Senate. The bill’s purpose is “to amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an easier system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices.” The bill was introduced to Congress by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and has more than 220 co-sponsors.

This will be fun to watch! Read more on the story at ICT

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ramona Band of Cahuilla Recognized as Environmental Heroes.

Congratulations to the Ramona Band for being recognized for their work with saving our environment.

San Francisco, California - During the agency's 11th annual Environmental Awards Ceremony in San Francisco today, U.S. EPA acting Regional Administrator Laura Yoshii recognized eight Southern California organizations and individuals in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve the environment in 2008.

“It is a great pleasure and honor that we can recognize the innovative and important environmental work achieved by this year’s impressive group of organizations and individuals, and the example they set for all of us to follow,” Yoshii said. “This year's winners and nominees have made superb efforts to protect and preserve our air, water and land, and increased awareness of the environmental challenges we all face.”

Ramona Band of Cahuilla, Anza - The Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians of Southern California has become the first fully “off grid” reservation with 100 percent renewable energy power for all facilities. Over the past decade, the tribe received funding from the Department of Energy, Housing & Urban Development and other agencies to build a sun and wind-powered energy system, and develop an ecotourism and training business.

The tribe is now developing an ecotourism center as a renewable energy destination resort. The Eco-Center will also teach people about Cahuilla culture. The training component will provide consulting and ecotourism start-up business services to enable other tribes to replicate or adapt this model for business development. Once the Eco-Center opens in late 2010, the tribe will have the only Native American-owned facility to train other rural/remote tribes to adapt this model for economic development.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Twentynine Palms Band fires GM of Spotlight 29 Casino

Doing poorly in a bad economy leads to changes at Spotlight 29 Casino.

The general manager of Spotlight 29 Casino and his administrative assistant were dismissed this week.

Raymond DelFiandra, who was general manager, was told Monday that his services were no longer required. His administrative assistant, Amy Redford, was let go as well.

Paul Speirs, a spokesman for the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, which owns and operates Spotlight 29 Casino, said the tribe's former chairman, Dean Mike, will serve as interim general manager for the casino until a replacement is found.

Tribal members did not return calls to comment. has the rest of the story, but here is an interesting comment, a bit racist:

TLAlbert: Just what any Indian casino needs, an Indian taking over management...they have no concept what is needed or necessary to making a casino survive even in a good economy. It takes a careful GM to run an Indian casino as he has to walk a tightrope with tribal members who all have an opinion of how the casino should be run, and more importantly who the casino should hire. I've spent more than 25-years employed casinos in Las Vegas, Mesquite and in California at Indian owned casinos...and believe me, with the execption of the two casino's owned and operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians, I would never, ever work for an Indian owned casino again. The two best days of your life in Indian gaming are the day you accept the job and the day you walk out the front door a free person, again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On Pechanga's Oral Tradition and Custom: Teetilawuncha's Blog

Our Cousins at Teetilawuncha's Blog have a fine post on some history of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Oral Custom and Tradition as it relates to the Paulina Hunter matter.

They also show some of the "inconsistencies" of how the Pechanga Enrollment Committee acted.

Most recently before his death, Antonio Ashman in a sworn affidavit said he knew Paulina as a member of the Band. He also swore that Paulina stayed at the home of Michelle and Salvador Quiliq and heard they were related.

He also stated Paulina was called Aunt by Martin Berdugo, another recognized member of Pechanga. This is recorded oral recognition that the CPP faction says Paulina Hunter did not have.

The enrollment committee also finds that Paulina was given a land allotment on the Pechanga reservation as a Temecula Indian. This confirms Paulina’s status as a Temecula Indian.

Please visit Teetilawuncha's Blog and add your comments here and there.

Valley View/San Pasqual has Vicious Dog Problem

And there's nothing county government can do about it. Tribal representatives of the San Pasqual Band haven't been much help.

A string of recent pit bull attacks has left two other dogs dead, a miniature horse mauled and residents feeling shaken and helpless in Paradise Mountain, an otherwise quiet community east of Valley Center on the edge of the San Pasqual Indian Reservation.

Several neighbors said law enforcement, county animal control and tribal authorities have failed to track down the pit bulls responsible for the attacks despite repeated pleas. They said they've provided specific information about where the dogs came from ---- just across the reservation line near Sunset Vista Lane.

WHO BELIEVES that the Tribe doesn't know whose dogs they are? Be careful! And since San Pasqual is one of those tribes that have unlawfully disenrolled some of their members, it's a good idea to stay away anyway, and tell your friends to do the same. If, like Pechanga, they will cheat their own people, they will cheat their customers too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Casino Indians Among Top Tax Cheaters in California

So, this is an answer to the question: Do Indians have to pay state taxes? YES, they do, if they live off the reservation. And now, thanks to the new list from the Franchise tax board, we KNOW who isn't paying from the RICHEST tribe in the state, the San Manuel Band.

Four San Manuel tribal members, including one who sits on the tribe's business committee, have made the Franchise Tax Board's list of the top 250 delinquent taxpayers in the state.

The board started publishing the list annually in 2007, which lists the top 250 taxpayers with liened state income tax delinquencies greater than $100,000.

Byron Marquez, a former minor league baseball player and brother of former tribal chairman Deron Marquez, is delinquent $439,024.47 as of April 2, 2008.

Marquez is director of business relations for the San Bernardino Inland Empire 66ers. He is also the president of the team's family outreach program and is director of the 66ers' dance team.

Stephanie Bustamante, the secretary of San Manuel's business committee, is delinquent $481,453 as of December.

Tribal member Kenneth Ramirez was delinquent $470,255.95 as of Nov. 4.

Tribal member Martin Hernandez Jr. was delinquent $700,092.87 as of Oct. 14.

SO GAMING IS COSTING US MONEY, as Californians. This is $2.1 MILLION that the San Manuel members are CHEATING Californians. How many teachers could keep their jobs if they paid what they owe?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mormon to Head Bureau of Indian Affairs: Larry Echohawk

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he intends to nominate Brigham Young University law professor Larry EchoHawk to lead the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, ending months of speculation that EchoHawk might not be selected because some tribes worried he may oppose tribal casinos.

EchoHawk, 60, a Pawnee, was the first Native American to be elected to a statewide office when he served as Idaho's attorney general from 1991 to 1995 after previously serving as a state legislator. He was the Democratic nominee in the 1994 Idaho gubernatorial race, but he lost the election. The former BYU football player has taught since then at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said of the nomination, "Larry EchoHawk has the right leadership abilities, legislative experience and legal expertise to bring about the transformative improvements we all seek for Indian Country. He is a dedicated public servant and an excellent choice."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jamul Tribe Drops Lawsuit Against Californians

The Jamul Indian band has dropped a lawsuit in which it was accusing state officials of meddling with its casino plans.

Neither side explained what was behind the joint request to dismiss the lawsuit in San Diego federal court.

A spokesman for the California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, said he couldn't talk about the case until the judge agreed to dismiss it.

Repeated calls to tribal officials and their lawyers were not returned.

However, a lawyer for a group of neighbors opposed to the casino said the tribe agreed to submit its plans to a state environmental review.

“The key result here is that there is no federal court ruling advancing the (tribe's) interest,” said Stephan Volker, lawyer for Jamulians Against the Casino. “Instead, their lawsuit has been dismissed, which, from my perspective, is a complete victory for the public and the environment.”

Whether state officials could review the casino plans was the crux of the case.
“That's not their business,” Jamul tribal Chairman Kenneth Meza said in a December interview. “They just need to know who's going in and going out.”

The lawsuit was setting up as a battle between tribal and state governments to decide what happens within their jurisdictions.

The tribe pointed to federal law and tribal sovereignty as reasons it shouldn't have to submit its casino plans for review.

State officials said they are charged with ensuring highway safety and threatened to block access to the reservation if the tribe builds a casino without making amends for the harmful effect that additional traffic would cause.

The reservation is on a curvy and hilly section of two-lane state Route 94, about 20 miles from downtown San Diego.

Tribal officials say they plan to use the reservation's longtime driveway rather than build a driveway across nonreservation land it owns nearby, as Caltrans prefers. The tribe says local opposition would likely prevent use of a new driveway.

Earlier this year, the tribe's casino partner, Lakes Entertainment, cited the access dispute – along with a dismal credit market – for lowering the odds of the gambling hall opening to 50-50.

The company also wrote off $35 million it had given the tribe.

The dismissal, signed by both sides, may be a sign of a settlement, said Indian gaming expert Kathryn Rand, a law professor at the University of North Dakota.

But Lakes' flagging support may also play a role, Rand said.

“Did they have the resources to continue with the lawsuit?” she asked. “Litigation is extraordinarily expensive.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Woman Followed Home from Indian Casino; Robbed

Be careful out there. At Pechanga, the security people will beat you, or you can be carjacked by a tribal member, at other casinos, the criminals follow you home

A man suspected of following a woman from River Rock Casino to her Santa Rosa home and stealing her winnings was identified as a Daly City man now behind bars on a drug charge.

Sgt. Lisa Banayat said the 74-year-old woman won $3,200 from slot machines at River Rock Casino on March 31. A man approached her several times at the casino and offered to sell her a diamond ring.

The woman, whom police did not identify, was escorted to her car by casino security officers and drove to her Lakeview Drive home in Santa Rosa, Banayat said.

The woman was knocked to the ground by a man who then stole her purse and fled on foot, Banayat said.

She identified her assailant as the same man who had approached her in the casino.

Surveillance video from the casino showed the suspect, who Santa Rosa police identified as Daly City resident Lisandro Denglay Martinez, 32. Daly City officers located the suspect, who was arrested at his home on drug charges.

Evidence linking Martinez to the robbery was discovered and Santa Rosa police obtained an arrest warrant for Martinez on charges of robbery and elder abuse, Banayat said.

LATIMES: Credibility of Pechanga Member Witness Under Attack

Lawyer for shantytown residents pokes holes in government's case

The credibility of prosecution witnesses comes under attack on the first day of a federal trial to determine whether Riverside County's Duroville trailer park should be closed.

By David Kelly
10:02 PM PDT, April 7, 2009

The government's case against Duroville, a vast Riverside County shantytown that is home to up to 4,000 poor farmworkers, got off to a rocky start Tuesday when the credibility of its witnesses came under attack on the first day of a trial expected to determine whether the park closes.

Chandra Gehri Spencer, a lawyer for the tenants, said that Duroville began taking shape on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation in 2000 and that the Bureau of Indian Affairs did nothing to stop it.

She asked James Fletcher, superintendent of the bureau's Southern California office, how many other trailer parks besides Duroville had no leases to operate on Indian land. He said there were four.

"Would it surprise you to know that there are in excess of 50 parks on tribal lands without leases?" she asked.

Fletcher seemed stunned. OP: 50? Really? 4 or 50?
"I have just one person who works on these lease-compliance issues," he said quietly. OP: He had more people than that looking in on our family meeting with a judge in regards to land issues. Maybe they should have been working on lease issues

One of the government's primary complaints against Duroville is that it is operating without a lease. But Spencer and others trying to keep the park open so it can be rehabilitated contend that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has unfairly singled it out for harsh treatment. OP: As a Pechanga member, affiliated with the CPP, we can understand how Fletcher would unfairly single out others for harsh treatments like disenrollments.

The government called code enforcement expert Christine Wiggins to the stand. She was hired by the bureau to conduct an inspection of Duroville in 2007 and 2008. Her report, based on inspecting 30 trailers the first time and six the second, showed a number of problems with the sewage system, electrical wiring and the storage of propane tanks.

She returned to the park Monday and testified that she found sewage pipes leaking, bare wires and a large gap in a fence surrounding a sewage pond. On top of that, she said garbage containers didn't have lids and that piles of debris represented serious fire hazards.

But under questioning by Spencer, Wiggins acknowledged that she had no previous experience inspecting mobile home parks.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson is expected to hear evidence all week and decide whether to close the park or rehabilitate it.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Leon Weidman told the court Tuesday that the evidence will show Duroville threatens the health and safety of its residents, and, despite efforts over the last year to make changes, the threats remain.

Read more at the LOS ANGELES TIMES

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Unions Lose in Effort to Organize at Foxwoods. Are Unions Needed Anymore?

Do Unions provide any benefit anymore? Why is it that people aren't enamored of the unions like they were in the 40's and 50's? Is is because they are tired of the sneaky ways unions use to get around having to WORK to organize?

Card check could be a last straw for many. The secret ballot prevailed. Unions, if you want to organize, you have to do a BETTER job of selling your benefits. What DO you have to offer unions?

Foxwoods Resort Casino management prevailed Wednesday in a crucial vote to have Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union represent bartenders, bar porters and beverage servers. In secret ballots conducted during the day and the evening, employees voted 207 to 133 against representation by the union. (that's over 60% AGAINST the union)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Foreman Family: Maintaining a Fighting Stance Against Tribal Corruption

Readers, It's not only the big home runs that can make a difference in the struggle for our rights. In working to gain our rights back, small hits need to be made to emphasize the wrongs perpetrated on Indian people by there own tribes. The family of Robert Foreman, Native American Hero, are fighting the old fashioned way: With in-your-face advertising. They are using Robert Foreman's home,which faces the Redding Rancheria Casino to display their message. (click to enlarge) This man was the FIRST Tribal Chairman of the tribe, he brought HEALTH CARE to Native Americans in the region, and for THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS MORE in their per capita checks, the tribe disenrolled Mr. Foreman and his family. The first per capita check was $3,000 and after the Foreman family was disenrolled it doubled to $6,000. After all the negative press, shining light on the despicable actions of the Redding Rancheria council, per capita has dropped to $2,500 per month. NOW, imagine if the Foreman family was fighting FOR the tribe! I'd want them in my corner.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Open Letter to Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro

I haven't received a response when I wrote this last year, I'm reposting it, hoping to hear back. Feel free to copy and send it on to your email lists and blogs.

Open Letter to Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro
From Original Pechanga

Dear Mr. Chairman,

For nearly a decade, you have been in the lead of the tribal council. During that time you have helmed the disenrollment of 25% of your membership.

What makes you proud to be the chairman? That you have made the tribe weaker? You were quoted in 2004 saying, “I believe that our tribal members know the fairness and diligence I try to bring to all of our issues." Where sir, was the diligence in creating fairness on the Enrollment Committee? Why “sir”, did you allow the committee to bring families up for review out of order, instead of the order they came in?

Why “sir”, did you, during your terms in office, not uphold the constitution and bylaws when you allowed an illegal moratorium on membership when the Pechanga constitution and bylaws says open enrollment is every January? How “sir”, can you say you bring fairness and diligence when you did not follow tribal law and in fact skirted the new law that the tribe passed to “halt all disenrollments” ? All currently enrolled members were covered in the July 2005 petition halting disenrollments. Why “sir”, did you not follow tribal law?

Where “sir”, was the fairness when you denied Hunters their civil rights by not allowing members to have an attorney with them to defend their positions? Where “sir”, was the fairness when you would not even allow writing implements for those who came before the Enrollment Committee, and in their appeal to the Tribal Council? Or to see the evidence against them. Was it because there was no credible evidence?

Why “sir”, did you not respond to the questions as to your Enrollment Committee member sleeping through the Hunter family’s hearings? Why “sir”, did you allow hearings to be held when one of the council was late? Couldn’t you even wait for him to hear the appeal, or, did you KNOW, it didn’t matter, as his mind was made up? Why “sir”, did you not respond to the obvious bias of one of your Enrollment Committee members telling Hunter family that they were going to be out no matter what evidence they had?

Why “sir”, did you consolidate cases? Why was each member not allowed to present his or her own case for appeal? Where is the fairness you said you would bring? Was a half hour per member, to appeal their own position, too much to ask?

Why “sir”, was the Enrollment committee allowed to use evidence biased against the Hunter family in their decision, when it was not presented to the family so they could address it in their appeal? Why would the word of a convicted child molester be considered valid versus the most respected authority on California Mission Indians, that Pechanga, not the Hunters chose to research Paulina Hunter? Why was "hearsay" testimony, that wasn't even notarized, turned in by the CPP given more credibility than five other notarized depositions from other current tribal elders not from CPP families that affirmed our membership?

Why "sir", during the shameful period that you and the tribal council were working to disenroll two large families, did you not hold monthly meetings, as was the custom?

How sir, can you say you bring fairness and diligence when you did not follow tribal law and in fact skirted the new law that the tribe passed to “halt all disenrollments”? All currently enrolled members were covered in the November 2005 petition halting disenrollments. Why sir, did you not follow tribal law?

Will you, Mr. Chairman take credit for the erosion of Tribal Sovereignty in California? There is still time to reverse this terrible injustice. Lead the tribe back to peace. Your ancestor Martin Berdugo called mine “Aunt”. Antonio Ashman SWORE to this. Bring the family together.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dry Creek's Bid to Quash Free Speech a Sure Loser

We wrote about the Dry Creek Rancheria trying to stifle speech HERE, and now, William Brown of the Press Democrat has an editorial up:

Imagine being stripped of your citizenship after objecting publicly to a decision by your elected officials.And, as their terms ran out, the same officials call off the election. Then, to muzzle any other dissenters, they move to outlaw criticism.

These are the acts of tyrants. We cringe when we read about autocratic decisions in China and Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Sudan. We're grateful that the U.S. Constitution protects free speech and vigorous political contests.

Unless, of course, you're a member of the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians, the Alexander Valley tribe that owns River Rock Casino.

In recent months, tribal leaders put off an election, citing concerns about the legitimacy of some of the candidates for the five-member board of directors. The board subsequently disenrolled about 30 members. Now, faced with criticism of their arbitrary acts, board members may try to stifle dissent by prohibiting unauthorized demonstrations, leaflets and statements that demean or otherwise injure the reputation and image of the tribe or any tribal operation.

We didn't ask permission to criticize, but perhaps the board should indict itself as its Orwellian proposal isn't helping the tribe's image. Neither do statements like this one from tribal chairman Harvey Hopkins: Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, as long as it doesn't impede the business being created for the general membership.

Hopkins is a long shot to win any First Amendment awards, but we won't count on the folks at River Rock Casino to take that wager.

By virtue of their sovereignty, Indians tribes have extraordinary authority, including the ability to choose their own members a power that has taken on added significance since tribes were granted permission to open casinos.

But the authority isn't absolute. Native Americans have civil liberties including the First Amendment rights of free speech, press, assembly, petition and religion.

As is often the case when efforts to suppress free speech are exposed, tribal leaders may be getting the message. Hopkins now says a committee will be appointed to review the proposed code of conduct.

Forming a committee is often a euphemism for killing a bad idea, and we trust that's happening here.

OP: Standing up to this oppression is an effort that must come from all of Indian Country.

Indian Casinos Win Round to Make Charities Suffer

Congratulations to CA Senator Gil Cedillo in being successful at weakening California's charitable organizations efforts to raise money. This allows tribes to gain more financially, at the same time they eliminate their members. This means fewer people win! Great job GIL!

Charity bingo operators in Sacramento lost a major round in court last week when a three-judge panel overturned a lower court injunction that would have allowed them to stay in business.
While the case concerns operations in the Sacramento area, it has statewide implications. Several large gaming tribes have claimed that these operations violate the law and that by allowing them, the state was not living up to the gaming compacts signed with tribes.

A year ago, the United Auburn Indian Tribe, which operates the large Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento, sent a complaint letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and attorney general Jerry Brown threatening to withhold payments to the state called for in their gaming compact if the bingo operations continued.

Under California law and the provisions of the gaming compacts, California charities are allowed a type of gaming known as “remote caller bingo.” Numerous charities in the greater Sacramento area have been operating machines they say fit that description because they pitted multiple players in a bingo game against each other, without a “single player” option. The tribes argued that the machines were essentially slot machines or video poker machines in terms of their user experience.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

San Manuel Pushing for Dismissal of $50 Million Lawsuit

An attorney representing the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is pushing to get a $50 million lawsuit against the tribe dismissed, arguing sovereign immunity.
Attorney Jerry Levine said San Manuel is an established governmental entity and immune to litigation, unless certain procedures are adhered to first.

"If you wanted to sue the government or the mayor, you have to go through procedures. There has to be a waiver by the government. It's the same thing with a tribe," Levine said Monday. "Under U.S. Supreme Court and under California law as well, (San Manuel) is a recognized government and has governmental immunity."

Highland attorney Frank Peterson filed a counter motion to Levine's motion on March 18 in San Bernardino Superior Court, alleging that the conspiracy to kill his client, Leonard Epps, was initiated by tribe members Stacy Nunez-Barajas and her brother, Erik Barajas in 2006. Peterson says tribe members met with Mexican Mafia members inside the VIP room of the casino and passed a picture of Epps around.

Peterson also alleges in his motion that a high-ranking tribe member meted out thousands of dollars to Mexican Mafia leaders as payoff money, and was seen discussing drug deals and contract killings on the reservation.

That member of the tribe is not being named because the individual has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

SBSUN story

Agua Caliente Casino Employee Arrested on Suspicion of Theft

An Agua Caliente Casino employee was arrested on suspicion of embezzling cash from the Rancho Mirage casino by using the identities of casino patrons, authorities said Monday.

Karl Douglas Walton, 43, of Banning was booked into the Indio Jail at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of embezzling more than $400,000 fraud and identity theft, sheriff's investigators said. Walton was released on $60,000 bail the next day.

The investigation began when sheriff's investigators received a report earlier this month of embezzlement and fraud involving an employee from the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, said sheriff's Lt. Greg Ammons.

The lieutenant said that during the investigation information was gathered that indicated Walton was embezzling “large sums of money” under different identities of other regular casino guests.

Ammons said the amount of money allegedly embezzled would not be released because of the ongoing investigation.

Investigators believe Walton's position at the casino as a “cash cage supervisor” helped him to carry out the scheme.

A search warrant was served Thursday just before Walton's arrest at his home in Banning in the 200 block of North Phillips Road where investigators seized evidence, according to Ammons.

More Disenrollments Coming At Pechanga?

Dear Readers, it sounds like it's happening AGAIN at Pechanga. It looks like another family has received letters of disenrollment. This would be another violation of Tribal Law at Pechanga.

The story is developing and NO, it's not April Fooling.......