California | Casino Stalker

Wilton Rancheria slams non-Indian interests for fighting casino

Artist's rendering of the Wilton Rancheria's resort project in Elk Grove, Caifornia. Image by Wilton Rancheria

The Wilton Rancheria of California has made significant progress on a $400 million casino but non-Indian interests are trying to stop the project.

Knighted Ventures, a firm that provides gaming services to non-Indian card clubs, is financing a referendum that seeks to overturn a land agreement for the casino. The petition contained enough valid signatures for it to be considered by the city council in Elk Grove.

“A campaign funded by gaming interests from outside Elk Grove is disingenuous and wrong," Chairman Raymond Hitchcock told The Sacramento Bee. "They don’t care about the people of Elk Grove. They care about protecting their business interests from fair market competition.”

The city council is meeting on Wednesday to consider the petition. Officials could rescind the resolution that approved the land agreement or they could put the matter to a vote, according to agenda item 10.1.

Additionally, the council is holding a closed session on Wednesday to discuss a lawsuit that seeks to derail the casino. Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up for California has refused to say who is funding her case, which was filed in the state court system.

Last month, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued the final environmental impact statement for the project. Public comments are being accepted until January 17, right before the end of the Obama administration.

It's possible the BIA could approve the tribe's land-into-trust application before Republican president-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20. Such a decision would come nearly eight years after the tribe was restored to federal recognition during the Obama administration.

Read More on the Story:
Voters to decide if Elk Grove should get an Indian casino (The Sacramento Bee 1/6)
Anti-casino petition verified; special election may be next (The Elk Grove Citizen 1/6)
Elk Grove’s new mayor talks about casino, outlet mall, more (The Elk Grove Citizen 1/4)

Federal Register Notices:
Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Revised Draft Conformity Determination for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 14, 2016)
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 29, 2015)
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California (December 4, 2013)

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