Yurok Tribe looked into opening $30M riverboat casino

The Yurok Tribe of California dropped plans for a $30 million riverboat casino that chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke said would have been a major economic boost to the reservation.

During the election last year, O’Rourke told tribal members about his idea but never revealed details because he said he was sworn to secrecy. After winning the race, O’Rourke and other tribal leaders began looking into buying a riverboat and utilizing bonding authority from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to build and improve infrastructure for the casino.

But the deal fell through because O’Rourke said tribal leaders were concerned about someone involved in the deal. “A flag went up,” O’Rourke told The Daily Triplicate, “and anytime a flag goes up it requires a closer look.”

The deal involved buying the Emerald Queen boat from the Puyallup Tribe of Washington. Documents examined by the paper indicate the asking price was $12 million even though the boat is now on the market for $4.5 million.

Another part of the deal involved buying the local Klamath Camper Corral RV Park for $2.3 million. The paper said the last appraised value of the property was just over $1 million.

“If everything would have turned out okay it would’ve worked, and it would have done a lot of things for us.” O'Rourke told the paper.

Keith Parker, a tribal member and former tribal employee, has posted criticism of the deal on Yurokvoices.Com.

Get the Story:
The $30 million plan (The Daily Triplicate 3/19)