In a setback for a local Indian tribe, a federal judge has determined her court is the proper venue to hear Temecula's lawsuit against the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. This ruling gives the first victory to the City of Temecula in its quest to make the tribe pay for the effect that the Pechanga Resort & Casino has on roads and other city services.
The city maintains that California's compact with the tribe, whose casino borders the city to the south, made federal court the proper forum for the lawsuit. But in November, Fischer wrote that the part of the compact cited by the city did not appear to give the court jurisdiction. This case could have statewide implications.
The city's lawyers wrote a response explaining their reasoning. And Fischer wrote that the jurisdiction was proper.
Tribal public affairs representative Jacob Mejia said the ruling was "a preliminary and technical procedural matter, of the kind we generally do not comment on publicly during the course of litigation."
The city's lawsuit came after the City Council approved a deal last April with the tribe that called for the PECHANGA tribe to pay Temecula at least $52 million over 21 years. The tribe also agreed to pay $10 million or secure the same amount in federal funding for improvements to the Interstate 15/Highway 79 South interchange, which is heavily used by casino-goers.
The city said the tribe missed a summer deadline to pay $2 million per the agreement. The tribe responded that the deal was not official until it wrapped up talks with Riverside County over casino impacts. We all know that the tribal chairman, Mark Macarro has lied to Congress and to KNBC news on land usage and membership issues. Money is tight at Pechanga, loss of business continues to be an issue. Of course, if Pechanga will cheat their own people, many realize they would cheat them too.