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Chukchansi Tribe group says $316K in casino cash went missing

Filed Under: California | Litigation | NIGC
More on: bia, chukchansi, igra

The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, California. Photo © Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

A federal judge is urging a faction of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California to take its claims to the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Reggie Lewis, who claims to be chairman, asked Judge Anthony Ishii to stop the disbursement of proceeds from the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to a rival group. But Ishii said it's not clear that Lewis is the recognized leader of the tribe.

"It is this court's belief that the tribe, once officially recognized, should exhaust any remedies available for violation of [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act] with the NIGC," Ishii wrote in a decision that was filed on Monday.

In papers submitted to the judge, Lewis claimed that $316,017 in casino cash went missing. A spokesperson for Tex McDonald, who also says he is chairman, disputed that.

"There has never been an illegal delivery of money made to the Chukchansi tribal council or the tribal gaming commission, ever," the spokesperson told The Fresno Bee.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has said it will conduct business with an "interim" council that Lewis and some of his rivals. But the agency did not say who was chairman of the tribe.

Get the Story:
Judge says he can't rule in Chukchansi missing money case (The Fresno Bee 2/27)
Tribal disputes continue with latest lawsuit (The Sierra Star 2/25)

Related Stories:
Factions of Chukchansi Tribe fighting over proceeds from casino (2/24)

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