A North County tribe that owes $3 million in public safety payments to the county said Wednesday it wanted to repay the money but has been unable to reach an agreement with county officials.
Earlier this month, the county started the process of freezing the tribe's bank accounts in an attempt to collect the money.
As a condition of opening a casino, the Santa Ysabel Band of Mission Indians struck an agreement with San Diego County in 2005 to pay about $600,000 a year for additional law enforcement, emergency and fire services in the area.
The tribe said the county was attempting to illegally seize money from its bank accounts that was not related to their gaming operation.
When the tribe failed to make its payments, the county asked for mediation in 2010 and was awarded $3 million. A 2011 judgment reaffirmed the award and allowed the county to begin the process of freezing the casino's bank accounts.
Santa Ysabel Chairman Virgil Perez said Wednesday that the tribe wanted to pay a "fair settlement," but the county was being unreasonable.
"While we are absolutely open to payment arrangements, we are absolutely committed to defending our employees' livelihoods and standing up for our community," Perez said in a written statement. "At this point, the county is interested in neither of those points."