The U.S. District Court ruling sets the stage for the ultimate prize: a federal court ruling on who controls the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi’ Indians in Madera County and its casino's haul of $9 million a month from slot machines and table games.
Nancy Ayala, who contends she is the tribe's chair, filed the suit in April, seeking a court order to compel Rabobank to give her unrestricted access to the tribe's casino and other bank accounts.
Rabobank, however, has refused to do so. The bank recognizes Lewis' council as the tribe's legitimate governing body and has allowed it to withdraw funds, Magistrate Judge Michael J. Seng said in his ruling.
Court documents submitted by Lewis and Rabobank "raise substantial questions about the validity of the tactics used by the Ayala faction to assert control of the Tribe, justify its actions, and even initiate this litigation," Seng wrote Read more here:
Therefore, "the court finds that the Lewis faction does have a significant protectable interest in the subject matter of this suit," he ruled. The decision comes a day after Ayala's group circulated a month-old Bureau of Indian Affairs letter that apparently confirms her as the tribe's chair.
Tuesday, Lewis and his supporters disputed Ayala's contention, saying the BIA letter was miscast as proof of her leadership. Lewis said more than 50% of the tribe's estimated 760 voting members have signed a referendum in support of his council as the tribe's governing body.
The case now heads to Judge Lawrence O'Neill's Fresno federal courtroom, but it's unclear when the legal arguments will take place; Seng has given Ayala 15 days to file an opposition to his ruling.
In addition, Reid, who has been involved in tribal leadership — and upheavals — since the 1990s when the Chukchansi casino was first planned, has filed court papers seeking legal standing in the federal case.
Learn More on Disenrollment, Ethnic Cleansing in Indian Gaming Country at these Links:
Gaming Revenue Blamed for Disenrollment
disenrollment is paper Genocide
CA Tribal Cleansing
There is a reason for a constitution so things like this don't happen. Say in 10 years Robert dies the disenrolled are reinstated and we have a new chairman who hates your family and disenrolled them. Then 10 years after that another chairman from your family takes power reinstates your family then disenrolls the previous chairmans family. By allowing Robert and this EC to get away with this its what you are allowing to happen in the future allowing one man or a small group of people on the EC to do whatever they want with the tribe having to follow no rules but the ones they make. That's why we have a constitution just like the United States so no matter who is Chairman or President they have to follow certain rules and can't become dictators.
You gotta sew up the holes in it 1st ..
Nice top article to your blog,
(Corrupt Committee Member DEAD)
I agree but by congress alloying these tribes to hide behind sovereignty nothing will change. We need to be constantly telling congress to address this issue. We are not asking to change the tribe constitution only asking to enforce the tribes constitution so if a disenrollment is illegally done there is an appeal if it done legally then it will stand. There are laws right now that will look at disenrollments based on the tribe’s constitution congress only need to enforce them.
"We are not asking to change the tribe constitution only asking to enforce the tribes constitution so if a disenrollment is illegally done there is an appeal if it done legally then it will stand. There are laws right now that will look at disenrollments based on the tribe’s constitution congress only need to enforce them."
June 12, 2013 at 9:34 PM
Your sentiment is true if in fact congress will listen. We know the arguments of constitutional and by-law noncompliance, or not following the tribes laws all to well.
Pechanga tells the story that we had our day in court and that we basically lost. That is farthest from the truth. The merits of our case have never been heard in any court. Our case was kicked out of court because of the Martinez ruling. We took our appeal all the way to the US Supreme Court only to have the hearing denied on the basis that the issue)s) were best addressed by congress and it was congress who made Indian policy and not the courts.
What is feared is that the tribe(s) all tribes who illegally disenroll will hide behind sovereignty. Understand it is getting the merits of your argument heard in the first place is the real goal when it comes to constitutional matters.
The courts will not rule in favor of an individual who is suing a tribal entity or anyone acting in a official capacity, nor will they rule in favor of a person who is attempting to get an individual to act in any official capacity like reinstatement.
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