A New York judge today rejected Nancy Ayala's argument that she is entitled to continue taking casino revenue to support her faction's activities, and prohibited all future disbursements to Ayala unless approved by Chukchansi Chairman Reggie Lewis.
In a conference call this afternoon, the Honorable Justice Schweitzer of the New York Supreme Court clarified that Ayala is prohibited from taking money from the casino as she has done for several months without any oversight in violation of the Tribe's Indenture agreement. The clarification was necessary after Ayala unlawfully seized $1.8 million in casino revenue without approval by Chairman Lewis. The money and all other expenditures will be subject to an accounting in September when a hearing is scheduled with the judge.
"This is another major victory for us in court as the judge recognized that Nancy Ayala cannot continue to use the casino as a personal bank to write checks to her family and small group of supporters," said Chairman Lewis. "This is about protecting the best interests of the Chukchansi people and ensuring casino revenue is used appropriately to benefit all Tribal members. We will continue to press for a strict accounting of all expenditures by Ayala as she has no doubt been taking many more millions of dollars for several months. That has come to an end now thanks to the judge's statement today."
In addition to the significant victory with the judge today, attorneys for the Lewis Council also filed actions last week in the New York Supreme Court against Ayala, Tracey Brechbuehl, Karen Wynn, and Charles Sargosa for conduct in violation of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") and the Tribe's Indenture agreement. The cross-claims allege that Ayala led a racketeering scheme that seized profits from the Chukchansi Casino and fraudulently distributed money to members of the Ramirez and Wyatt families, which she claims are the only legitimate members of the Tribe. According to the court filing, Ayala installed a security force consisting of gang members and convicted felons that intimidated and threatened anyone who questioned her actions.
The cross-claims explain how Ayala attempted to remove all members of the Tribal Council except herself using a petition signed by just 14 individuals. With a valid petition requiring signatures from 30 percent of the tribal membership, Ayala effectively attempted to disenroll hundreds of Tribal members to ensure that only her and her family members would benefit from the Tribe's revenue.
Ayala, Brechbuehl, Wynn and Sargosa are all required to appear in New York in August and September to answer questions, under the penalty of perjury, regarding the allegations.