Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rincon Lawsuit Against California May Get Supreme Court Review

A lawsuit filed by the Rincon Band of Mission Indians against the state could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court next year.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by the North County tribe after negotiations for a new gambling agreement with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fell apart. The tribe said the governor was violating federal law by insisting that tribes pay money into the state's general fund in exchange for more slot machines.

"We embarked on this course because Arnold Schwarzenegger's illegal extortion of tribal governmental revenue violates our sovereignty and federal law," Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti said.

The tribe stood to lose tens of millions of dollars under a deal offered by the Schwarzenegger administration while generating little for the tribe itself, according to court documents.

Schwarzenegger's office did not return calls for comment. The governor has maintained that the state negotiated in good faith, and he was confident he would prevail in the lawsuit.

The Rincon tribe owns a Harrah's brand casino and hotel in Valley Center. Tribal leaders have said they are willing to pay to offset problems related to their casino as long as the money goes back to local communities and does not stay in state coffers.

Schwarzenegger was elected in 2003 in part on a pledge that he would get gambling tribes to pay more money to the state as a way to offset California's growing budget deficits.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals in April upheld a lower court ruling that sided with the Rincon band. In the 2-1 ruling, written by Judge Milan Smith Jr., the court said the governor's revenue-sharing demands amounted to an illegal tax.

Schwarzenegger asked the Supreme Court to review the ruling. On Monday, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the Rincon case. The Justice Department's opinion could determine whether the justices take up the case in their 2011-12 term or let the appeals court ruling stand.


Anonymous said...

Schwarzenegger is such a loser, no wonder Obama is thinking of putting him on payroll.

3 more weeks and we are rid of Arnold for GOOD!

Anonymous said...

Don't come back, Arnold

Anonymous said...

If only we could get our Congress to act in enforcing the Indian Civil Rights Act. They must stop thinking about campaign contributions and do what's right.

The Department of Justice is so weak.

Anonymous said...

Its all about the money!!! Ask the Dealers and employees at Harrahs Rincon what the tribe has done for them. So much propaganda in this Casino.. they say they are number 1 voted in everything.. look at the signs...Why cant the tribe take interest in saving lives by taking away the smoking... It is killing people... You think they really care!
Its all about the money!!!! Hipocrits!

Anonymous said...

Agree on that!! The state and federal government need to make some other demands like nonsmoking! as the employees are dealing with second and third hand smoke..Yes the employee signed... but come on,,, the Indians are making enough money... so what is the real Reason they wont get rid of smoking!!! It certainly cant be that they wont have any gamblers.. Believe me,,, the gamblers will come!!!
Management at that Rincon Casino I hear is terrible!! They are all just worried about covering their own tushies!!.. Come on government where are you!!