Supreme Court ruling not seen to affect Graton Rancheria casino

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Salazar v. Patchak likely won't affect the casino for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Fitch Ratings said in a corrected press release.

The tribe was restored to federal recognition by an act of Congress in 2000. The law mandated that land be placed in trust for the tribe and a final decision was made in April 2008, according to a Federal Register notice.

The Supreme Court's decision opens the door to lawsuits within six years of a final agency decision. But Fitch Ratings believes the ruling doesn't affect the Graton Rancheria because of the mandatory nature of the acquisition.

"Graton Rancheria's casino project in the San Francisco/Sacramento market will likely remain unaffected by the ruling as the tribe's trust land was taken pursuant to an Act of Congress," Fitch said in the corrected press release.

The National Indian Gaming Commission approved the environmental impact statement for the casino in October 2010, according to a Federal Register notice. The tribe subsequently negotiated a Class III gaming compact with Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

The BIA is currently reviewing the compact. Meanwhile, the tribe has started work on the casino even though it has yet to negotiate a mitigation agreement with Sonoma County, one of the conditions in the compact.

Chairman Greg Sarris has largely avoided the media in recent months. But in an interview with KGO-TV, he questioned whether county supervisors were willing to negotiate in a "respectful manner."

The casino is expected to open sometime in 2013.

Get the Story:
Fitch: Station Casinos project likely unaffected by Indian gaming ruling (VegasInc 6/20)
Tribe behind Rohnert Park casino blasts county for 'misleading' information (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 6/21)

An Opinion:
Chris Coursey: 'Take it or leave it' is not negotiation (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 6/21)

Supreme Court Decision:
Salazar v. Patchak (June 18, 2012)

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