Guidiville Band loses ruling in dispute over failed gaming project

An aerial view of Point Molate in Richmond, California. Photo from Point San San Pablo Peninsula

The Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians is suing the federal government and the city of Richmond over a failed off-reservation casino project in northern California.

The tribe wants to turn Point Molate in Richmond into a $1.2 billion casino resort. The project was dealt a major setback in September 2011 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs said the land doesn't qualify under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

By then, the city of Richmond had already pulled out of the project due to traffic and environmental concerns. In the lawsuit, the tribe and developer Upstream Point Molate claim the city breached an agreement to support the casino.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed nearly all of the claims against the city in a December 12, 2013, decision. On July 24, 2014, she denied a request by the tribe and Upstream to amend their complaint involving the city.

The tribe and Upstream asked for permission to take both decisions to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is fully resolved. Rogers denied the request on Friday, ruling that the two parties "have not met their burden to establish the exceptional circumstances required for certification of the interlocutory orders."

The tribe's claims against the federal government have not been adjudicated. The Guidiville Band was seeking to qualify for an exception in Section 20 of IGRA that applies to tribes that were restored to federal recognition.

The Guidiville Band regained recognition in 1992 but the Bureau of Indian Affairs said the tribe failed to show a historical and modern connection to Point Molate. The site is about 108 miles from tribal headquarters.

The tribe could pursue the casino under the two-part determination provisions of IGRA. The state governor's approval would be required in that situation.

Get the Story:
East Bay City Can Kill Casino Deal (Courthouse News Service 10/6)

Relevant Documents:
Complaint | Deember 12, 2013, Decision | July 24, 2014, Decision

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