FROM THE ARCHIVE

White House called weekly about casino

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2002

Former Bureau of Indian Affairs deputy Wayne Smith tells all, or a good portion of it, in a Los Angeles Times investigation into a casino-related dispute that led to his firing.

The dispute involves the Buena Vista Miwuk Rancheria in California. The BIA was trying to figure out who was the legitimate leader of the tribe. The outcome determined control of a future casino.

First, Smith says a White House aide called weekly about the case, which was under review at a BIA office in California. He identified the aide as Jennifer Farley, a deputy in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Her boss is Ruben Barrales.

A White House spokesperson told The Times: "We dismiss these assertions. They don't accurately represent the facts."

Second, Smith says he was asked to lunch by Scott W. Reed, who managed the 1996 presidential campaign of Bob Dole. The Times says Reed is a close friend of Farley.

At the lunch, Reed said he had letters that would prove embarrassing to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and President Bush. Smith took this as blackmail, Reed claimed he was merely offering friendly advice.

But within weeks, Smith was the target of an internal investigation and the FBI began looking into it as well. Here, he alleges Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Norton's deputy chief of staff and Smith's former colleague from the California Department of Justice, told him not to mention the White House interest.

Wooldridge denies telling Smith to do that.

Smith was fired within days.

Get the Story:
A Game of Casino Hardball (The Los Angeles Times 11/5)
Username: indianz, Password: indianzcom

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