TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT Strips Native Americans of Tribal Citizenship
Friday, September 4, 2015
Man Who Knew Little About Chukchansi Issues, Says Things WILL CHANGE, If you SPEND MONEY THERE
After an October raid led to 15 felony arrests and closure orders by the National Indian Gaming Commission and state Attorney General, Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino remained an empty shell for months.
Chukchansi’s 1,300 slot machines, 40 table games, restaurants, and more than 400 hotel rooms have sat abandoned, and some 1,050 employees were ousted from their jobs.
Christian Goode, who took over as the casino’s chief operating officer in July, has promised to change that entire experience, with a reopening set to take place this month, pending federal, state, and county approval. OP: WHY would they approve an opening when nothing has been settled, there're STILL $50 MILLION unaccounted for?
Positive developments for the tribe have taken place, as a collective bargaining agreement was recently struck for some 700 former employees at the casino, with more former staffers and potential new hires being welcomed into the fold.
A tribal council with multiple rival faction leaders has also been recognized by federal agencies, giving authority for tribal and casino developments back to a legitimate governing body, led by Tribal Chairman Reggie Lewis.
Goode, who co-founded casino management and development company Ivory Gaming, said all that positive progress is a sign that a “new day” is underway at the gaming house.
Though he understands there’s been some issues, Goode was not afraid to answer many questions about the reopening process, including any challenges he or his company may face.
So how did the Chukchansi tribe contact you for your services?
I was referred to the opportunity by a mutual friend that knew the tribe and knew me, and introduced us to each other.
I’m sure that when they reached out to you, you were aware of the situation they were in, with not only a closed casino, but years of tribal divisions?
I actually was not aware. I was first contacted and had an introduction in May, and saw the history, met with them, came out and developed the relationship from there, then started work in July.
There’s been a lot of diverse opinions and factions in the tribe. If this casino is reopened, lots of people will want to come back, but maybe there’s customers who won’t. Maybe they don’t think this facility is safe. What would you say to them?
I would tell them to give us an opportunity. From the minute you drive on this property, to the minute you leave, you will feel safe and secure. And we strive, and I think we will be, the destination of choice in the Central Valley, from our hotel, our gaming experience, our amenity package whether it’s food or spa.
I guarantee you that we will do everything to ensure people’s safety. Even if you look in the past, there was no guest that was ever in danger or felt unsafe in my mind. We’re going to make sure employees are safe and the public is safe.