Thursday, June 22, 2017

WILTON RANCHERIA - ElK Grove Subterfuge? Brown Act Violations Alleged

See the Lawsuit HERE  (link fixed)      And it seems shady at best. If this was such a good deal, why would they try to hide it?


Between January 26 and 30, 2017, Matthew Baur, 6’ grade teacher at Carroll
4 Elementary School in Elk Grove and a teacher for Mayor Ly’s son, and Steve Ly exchanged emails discussing the casino, and Baur’ s efforts to get a donor to pay $750 for classroom chrome
6 book network connections. Ly responds: “Please share our conversation with everyone. My position is no secret. Regarding funding for chrome book. No worries, let’s get a donation from the Rancheria. Can you do a letter to me describing your situation and the need for $750?”

Lisa Jimenez detailed Wilton Rancheria's subterfuge in gaining land and using her family's cemetery to the city in January.

Citizens File Suit Against Elk Grove City Council Alleging Violation of the Brown Act
Citizens seek public hearings; disclosure of records related to backroom deals on Wilton Casino Project

ELK GROVE – Today, citizens of Elk Grove petitioned the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento seeking to compel the City of Elk Grove to comply with the California Public Records Act and release additional documents related to backroom deals on the Wilton Rancheria Casino project that is being proposed at the site of the abandoned Elk Grove Mall project off Highway 99. (petition attached)

The petitioners are Elk Grove residents Patty Johnson; Joe Teixera; Omar Ahmed, Jr., Xin Guo; and Carolyn Soares. The attorney for the petitioners is Brigit Barnes, Esq

The petitioners also seek declaratory relief based on findings of initial public records act requests which indicate that City Council members and staff engaged in private meetings, email, telephone and text exchanges with representatives of the Wilton Rancheria Tribe, the Elk Grove Town Center LP, through its partner the Howard Hughes Corporation, and gaming parties such as Boyd Gaming of Las Vegas, to predetermine collective approval of the Casino project in violation of the Brown Act. 

California’s Brown Act was enacted to prevent secret meetings of official bodies and guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies where decisions on issues of importance are made. 

The actions of the City Council effectively shut the voters of Elk Grove out of the process of determining whether they support the Wilton Casino project. At the same time, these private backroom conversations allowed the City Council to publicly provide the false impression that they had no influence in the matter, again avoiding public scrutiny and bypassing public involvement in the Casino project. 

One example of these private backroom dealings occurred in January 2017. The city of Elk Grove was faced with a decision regarding the citizen’s drive to force a vote on the development agreement that would pave the way for the Wilton Rancheria Mega Casino. 
The city had two options: rescind their approval of the development agreement for the Casino or put it on the ballot for the voters to decide. But they could also delay their decision while Wilton Rancheria tried to get their Casino put into a public trust by the Federal Government. Faced with a mounting timeline, the City and Wilton began a secret conversation to delay the city council’s decision so Wilton had more time with the Federal Government:


January 25, 2017
Raymond Hitchcock (Wilton Rancheria): We r trying to get DC t take land into trust and they r acting slow because of obvious reasons…Here is acting AS of BIA Mike Black. 202-208-7163. Ask him why the land hasn’t been taken into trust for the tribe?…

Unidentified City Council: OK

January 26, 2017
Unidentified City Council: You have two weeks to get this into [sic] trust.

January 27, 2017 
Unidentified City Council: Don’t think we can delay anymore. Get it done. 

Raymond Hitchcock (Wilton Rancheria): I don’t want u t have to. I am on it as we speak! This extra time is a godsend. Great work last night.

The two weeks allowed the City Council to delay their decision on the voter referendum and eventually rescind it, again denying the voters of Elk Grove an opportunity to weigh in on the matter. 

Another email demonstrates the choreography that went on during this period. 

On January 9, 2017, Darrel Doan, Elk Grove’s City Economic Development Director, sent an email to four other Elk Grove staff members about his call with Howard Hughes Corp. Vice President of Land Development Dave Kautz. In the email, he explains the plan of action, in an update from Mr. Kautz, was for the City Council to certify the voter petition for a referendum the development agreement on the Elk Grove mall property on January 11th 2017, which would allow time for Boyd Gaming and Howard Hughes Corp to close on the property by January 20th, and then the City Council would rescind the development agreement, thus nullifying the referendum and voter participation, on January 25th

The petition seeks a writ compelling the City of Elk Grove to hold public hearings on the Casino project.

No comments: