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Monday, December 9, 2013
Chukchansi "Leadership" EMBARRASSES themselves with TWO Separate Elections
The elections from both sides were rigged. Two factions fighting over control. It's time for customers to boycott this casino and wait for North Fork Rancheria to open. Time to PULL the tribe's recognition.
The latest in a Chukchansi leadership standoff resulted in two elections on Saturday, with both groups claiming to be the rightful tribal council of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians in Coarsegold, which has been deeply divided since the winter of 2011.
One of Saturday's elections was deemed the "unification election" -- an attempt to join two factions: leaders of the Reggie Lewis and Morris Reid groups.
The other was led by Nancy Ayala's faction, which has maintained control of the rancheria offices in Coarsegold, along with day-to-day operations at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
Richard Verri, legal counsel for the tribe, said Lewis got the most votes in the "unification election." He will be joined on the tribal council by Chance Alberta from the Lewis group and Dixie Jackson and Reid from the Reid group.
Verri said the elction drew a "very strong showing by the tribal members," but he didn't have the vote count.
In the "unification election," ballots were sent to just over 800 adult voting members of tribe, which has about 900 members, said Verri, who has been representing the Lewis group. Ballots were also sent to the Ayala group, he said.
"This election is about keeping the membership intact," Verri said. "It's about saying, 'we have 900 members, we are all equal, there's not classes of membership.' There's not first- or second-class citizens. Once you are a citizen, you are a citizen."
Verri said only some members, who came to the tribal offices and who weren't sanctioned, were allowed to vote in the Ayala election.
David Leibowitz, spokesman for Ayala's council, said Saturday that he didn't know how many ballots were cast in their election. As of late Saturday night, he did not have election results.
"The tribe continues to move forward," Leibowitz said of the Ayala election. "The Ayala quorum continues to make the payments ... tribes are sovereign nations and they have land from which that sovereignty resides. You can't just set up a headquarters in a strip mall (in Fresno, where Lewis' group is now based) and say you run the tribe."
The rift between the Lewis and Reid groups was mended at a general council meeting in September. Members voted to lift the sanctions against Reid supporters -- which date to the occupation of the tribal offices in February, 2012, and another leadership standoff.
The new, unified group is still hoping for intervention from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help sort out the leadership feud.
Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/12/07/3380741/divided-chukchansi-tribe-holds.html#storylink=cpy