Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chukchansi Police Chief Speaks Out on Casino Closure Dispute

The police chief and an officer who were hired by one faction of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians are speaking out about a dispute that led to the closure of the California tribe's casino.

Chief John Oliveira and officer Tim Tofaute say they only went to the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to obtain documents that needed to be submitted to the National Indian Gaming Commission. They now face numerous charges in state court after they got into an armed confrontation with tribal members from another faction.

"I can't imagine one of the claims or the charges that are placed on us that our video won't show the contrary action to," Olivera told KRNV, referring to video of the October 9 incident.
"I'm still dumb-founded," added Tofaute. "Our legal counsel, every council that we have spoken to, they are perplexed by this."

Olivera turned himself in after being charged but is out on $1.25 million bail. The tribal leaders that hired him -- Tex McDonald and Vernon King -- remain in jail on higher bond amounts.

Tofaute is also out after posting an $800,000 bond. He and Olivera are now conducting their own investigation into the incident and they believe the charges against them won't hold up in court.

The casino has been closed under a permanent injunction issued by a federal judge at the request of the state. The National Indian Gaming Commission also issued a notice of violation and a temporary closure order to the tribe for failing to submit audits and for failing to protect the public health and safety at the facility.


Anonymous said...

This is going to happen at Pala soon.. NIGC,BIA. Take notice before it does. People can only be lied to and pushed so far by corrupt leaders before they start to push back harder.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

well maybe. We've seen the people of Pala support their corrupt Chairman and the Pala EC. If they had wanted change they had a chance last May.

The NIGC is not likely to act despite the violations at Pala. They only moved in at Chukchansi because the audits were so overdue, and that is not the case at Pala. The thing that could involve the NIGC is Pala Interactive, but tribal members would have to file a complaint against the Casino Management and EC members for conflict of interest and fraud if they have the courage to stand up for justice.

The BIA will not interfere. Even if Thor Emblem wins his appeal, getting the BIA to comply with a remand order takes time. Realistically it will be a year before the appeal is heard in court, and then another year to adjudicate, and then probably two years before the BIA acts. That's four years, and only if everything works out within an optimistic time frame.

Don't lose hope though. There are still some things going on in the background that will have an impact. And it won't take four years, but Robert Smith is not quaking in his boots. His re-election means the people have spoken, even if it is a good joke. An election where he didn't even campaign?

Now if the Pala people actually care about the so called economic crisis they should ask some serious questions regarding the status of the tribe's income. They should also ask about the Pala EC's plans to fix the problem. Here at Original Pechanga Blog we can read about the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and their cultivation of diverse revenue streams and how it means they don't have to rely on gaming revenue for their wealth.

I wonder why Pala can't do something similar. Is there a tribal law that says the economic development fund has to be lost every year? Why not just put it in the bank, or invest in Google stock? At least then there would be something to show for it instead of a big fat goose egg on the financial report and a large deposit into the Chairman's account in the Cayman Islands.

Anonymous said...

I have family in gaming positions at other tribes and from what they tell me when the share reports and compare Pala is exact words " beyond broke". I was told they don't know how Pala can be making such little money when everyone else's revenue stream is up. That the reports they get at gaming meetings from Pala cannot be accurate and if they are Pala is not doing good whether it's our management or council running things into the ground. I just wonder what it will take for the rest of my tribe to open their eyes? I know many already have and are against the EC but there are those ignorant uneducated few that think Robert is the source of their check and blindly follow him and allow him to run Pala into the ground. We could be getting SOOO MUCH MORE if someone honest was in charge.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Pala and this use to make me mad now it just makes me sad that our people can't think for themselves and follow orders like cattle to keep the EC in power to continue stealing from us. I mean come Pala people open your eyes please see what's really going on. Help Pala lets get our fair share not the scraps Smith/Nieto decide to give us.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

I understand what you folks are saying, but what is the incentive for Smith/Nieto to give up their cash cow? And it is not just a few ignorant people that support him. If a significant majority opposed the EC they would have done something about the problem by now.

Just to put it into proper persepctive, after months of queries, Robert Smith finally admitted that he had involved the Pala Band of Mission Indians in online gaming in New Jersey through a company called Pala Interactive.

Questions about the venture had been brought up repeatedly and Robert Smith denied them. We know he has total disdain for the truth, so it is not surprising that he has been lying about it all this time. What is surprising is that people didn't bring him up on charges.

He took over $100 million dollars of tribal money without General Council approval and invested it in a company, then he withheld all information about it for over a year. He used the tribe's name and money, installed Executive Committee members on the Board of Directors, and hired the Casino CFO and General Manager to work at Pala Interactive. He conveniently left this investment off the financial report, and still has no plans to share any of the revenue with the tribe if the company makes money.

The problem is that the company still hasn't started doing business. They have a license to operate, and a partnership with the Borgata Hotel Casino, but no money coming in. That is almost two years that the Tribe has been funding the payroll, legal fees, website development, licensing fees, taxes, promotion, and marketing with zero dollars coming in.

You guys at Pala act like you don't know about any of this. You have been sitting on your hands hoping the FBI will move in, or that the disenrollees will win, or that maybe someone different will get elected, but you don't do anything to stop the corruption and criminal action. The black stain of failed leadership has tainted the whole tribe.

Don't be sad; get mad as hell and do something about it. Don't take this crap anymore. Gather together the people you think are against the EC and start building a case against them. You don't need the FBI. The members of the tribe are the ones who are getting ripped off; they can file a complaint anytime. They could do what we tried to do in May, and suspend the crooks pending an investigation. No one will question this action. There was money taken; their was no authorization; the General Council was lied to; this is grounds for removal from office.

I am not holding my breath though. The people at Pala are too worried about missing a check to do anything to stop their evil leaders. Even the promise of double the money if they take out the thieves doesn't motivate them.

These thieves look you in the eyes and steal your money and you don't even blink. Kiss it all goodbye.