Lawsuit challenging gambling Compact with CA tribe set for trial

03/08/2013 (press release: STC101) // Rohnert Park, CA, USA // Marilee Montgomery

Stop the Casino 101 Coalition’s (STC101) legal challenge to Governor Brown’s gambling Compact with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) is headed for trial.

At a hearing on March 5, 2013, in the Sonoma County Superior Court, Judge Elliot Daum set a trial date of August 2, 2013, despite the pleas of the governor’s attorney to send the case to federal court. Attorney for the Plaintiffs is Michael Healy of Petaluma.

Stop the Casino 101 Coalition vs. Edmund G. Brown argues that the federal government did not take title to the casino land as required by law and thus it is not Indian land as defined by state law. As a result, the land is still under the state’s sovereign authority and is still subject to state law. Class III gambling is not allowed on state land, only on tribal land, and the governor had no authority to enter into a compact with the FIGR.

The state gambling Compact is the only way a California tribe can have Class III gambling; with no gambling Compact from the state, the casino would not be allowed to operate slot machines or casino-style games of any kind. Because the issue is the sovereign authority over the land, not the Compact itself, the FIGR would not able to negotiate another Compact with the state.

“This is huge victory for us. We’ve gotten past the procedural hurdles”, said Pastor Chip Worthington, founder of STC101. “We’ll be able to get a judicial decision on the substantive issues.”

“So far, the governor’s attorneys haven’t articulated a coherent response to the substantive arguments. We’ll have our day in court in what could be a landmark case.”

The governor’s office had attempted to get the trial moved to federal court and to bring in the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the National Indian Gaming Commission. However, these federal officials refused to be a party to the lawsuit in their January 30, 2013, special appearance to the court in which federal attorneys strongly asserted federal sovereign immunity from suit. This was a crippling blow to the governor’s legal defense.

Loans made to Graton Economic Development Authority were $375M senior secured term loan due 2018 and $450M senior secured notes due 2019. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse were the joint bookrunning managers for the sale of $450 million of senior secured note. Station Casinos of Las Vegas is the managing partner in the development.

Case No. SCV-251712

Social Media Tags:Stop the Casino 101 Coalition, Graton Rancheria,Graton Rancheria casino, Station Casinos ,Governor Brown, Jerry Brown, tribal casinos, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, gaming, casinos, slot machines, finance, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo

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