Chukchansi Tribe accused of going into default on casino debt

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California has technically gone into default on $250 million in gaming debt, according to a lawsuit filed by Wells Fargo.

The tribe missed a $12 million payment on April 1, triggering a 30-day grace period before going into default. One faction of the tribe was able to make a $10 million payment but Wells Fargo claims there was enough money for the full amount.

Wells Fargo takes no position on a leadership dispute within the tribe, according to the lawsuit. The bank is asking a judge to enforce an agreement in order to protect operations at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.

"This tribal governance dispute has caused chaos and substantially disrupted the casino's operations and finances, resulting in several serious breaches of the indenture and related agreements," Wells Fargo said in court papers.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has recognized Nancy Ayala as chair. She controls the day-to-day operations of the casino, according to news reports.

But Reggie Lewis, whom the BIA identified as vice chair, contends he is the rightful leader. He controls some of the tribe's bank accounts.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Wells Fargo Bank v. Chukchansi Economic Development Authority.

Get the Story:
Bank: Tribal dispute puts Chukchansi casino at risk of default (The Fresno Bee 6/20)

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