Rivals of Chukchansi Tribe make full payment on gaming debt

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California made a full payment on its gaming debt on Thursday, with rival leaders blaming each other for an impasse that had to be resolved in court.

The tribe missed a $12 million payment and one faction made a partial payment of $10 million. When the full payment wasn't made by the end of the grace period, Wells Fargo went to court in New York state and secured an injunction to pay bondholders.

“Our tribal council is ecstatic that we were able to overcome the many obstacles put in our people's way by three former council members determined to sabotage our tribe and our casino," Nancy Ayala, who is the leader of one faction, said in a press release.

"We continue to follow the legal process and abide by the court order to protect the best interests of the tribe. Thanks to the court order, we can ensure that Nancy Ayala is no longer able to unlawfully take money from the tribal government without paying our debts," Reggie Lewis, who is the leader of the other faction, said in his release.

The judge's order requires the gaming debt to be paid out of the tribe's account at Rabobank. Lewis had been in control of that account.

The order requires Ayala to transfer money that her faction had been holding in other banks and within the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino itself to Rabobank. She has effectively been in control of the facility.

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Chukchansi tribe back on track with casino bond payment (The Fresno Bee 7/26)

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