The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians had another takeover late Thursday night, officials from the tribe's opposing factions confirm, reports MARC BENJAMIN.
The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, which generates an estimated $100 million in annual revenue for the tribe, remains open.
Two people involved in the ongoing dispute for tribal leadership both say that a takeover happened, but differed on how it happened.
Richard Verri, a lawyer for a Chukchansi faction led by Reggie Lewis, said the change happened at a tribal council meeting Thursday night at the tribal business center near the casino. Verri said five council members had ethics charges filed against them. It left two members on the board who represent a different faction.
The two remaining members are Amanda Ramirez and Charles Sargosa. Verri said those two effectively suspended the other five: Tex McDonald, Donna Featherstone, Vernon King, Monica Davis and Linda Appling.
But Appling said about 30 members of the Ramirez and Wyatt families simply took over the tribal offices about 9 p.m. After they entered the building, the ethics charges were filed, Appling said.
David Leibowitz, spokesman for the tribe, said he has not heard a definitive account about what occurred Thursday night.
"I am still sifting through the details of what happened," Leibowitz said. "The situation is peaceful and it has had absolutely no impact on the casino ... it is business as usual at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino."
Verri said Nancy Ayala was involved in Thursday night's change. Verri said his group, led by Lewis, was not involved in the takeover.
Leibowitz said he was in touch with Ayala, the former board chairwoman removed by ethics charges last year, and she told him she was not at the tribal center "in any official capacity."
Leibowitz said he is unsure how the ethics complaints were recorded, but added, "these are all very good people who care very passionately about the tribe."
A Madera County sheriff's spokeswoman said "a conflict" happened Thursday night at the tribal business center near Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino and that Sheriff John Anderson was mediating throughout the night. The spokeswoman, Erica Stuart, said nobody was injured and deputies are running patrols around the tribal business center.UPDATE: Received word from a Chukchansi member:
Nancy Ayala along with Amanda Ramirez and Charles Saragosa have taken control of the picayune rancheria. Now is the time for all members to unite and put the past behind us before all is lost. This action was put in place by two council members (Amanda and Charles) that is not a quorum. They banned the quorum council off of casino property, so the quorum is now at the willow glen smoke shop. They want to move forward and bring all members together.
the NIGC needs to step into this fray, and CLOSE chukchansi gold casino until the tribe follows the gaming compact and their revenue allocation plan, and the federal government needs to examine other requirements such as a clear government to government relationship which must be intact in order for the tribe to continue to exist, much less run a gaming facility....a suspension of the tribe's federal recognition may be the only thing that will make these factions come together, bring back the over a thousand tribal citizens disenrolled at picayune, and begin being a tribal nation--NOT the exclusive elite country club corporation posing as an indian nation that picayune has now become!
I agree. The game that the leaders various factions are playing is in violation of the NIGC agreement, an abrogation of the government to government relationship (since the BIA has already ruled that it only recognizes the tribal officers certified in the 2010 election), and shows complete and total disregard for the consensus vote of the people.
There must be an honest and legitimate effort made to address the will of the people, and a restoration of rule of law. The BIA must intervene and order an immediate vote to validate the tribe's constitution, and to elect tribal officers. Also it would be in the best interest of the tribe to exclude any and all who participated in these various plots to gain control of the casino revenue. They are acting in self interest and compromising the sovereignty of the tribe.
Take over my ass tex was facing ethics as well as the rest of them and rather then step down constitutionally he and his criminal council decided to FRAME the ramirez family who was not even all present at the time. They didn't want to lose their pay check. And tex just found 24 million bucks he don't want to share with all or put it towards the debt. He is paying his family and Linda Appling family 500 a day to replace the license guards they had there. These guys don't have any certifications. In fact Steve Mcdonald, tex nephew who is collecting this outrageous amount has been fired from the casino as a card dealer for theft from the tables. Thousands of dollars. But good old uncle tex will protect his criminal family. And let's not forget about how Monica Davis f***ed Allen Mc combs to get her spot on council along with Gary the lawyer. And Vernon he has a bit of a drinking problem already crashed one tribal car but it's ok. They are in power and will do whatever it takes to keep that power. The abuse of power by the tex council is sicking.
You should very ignorant! BIA can't tell who runs a tribe!!!!
Tribal members tell who will run the tribe
I am not in the tribe, it looks like you are about to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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