Faction of Chukchansi Tribe walks away from casino mediation

The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, California. Photo © Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

One faction of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians has walked away from court-supervised mediation that was aimed at reopening the California tribe's casino

The unity council headed by Reggie Lewis and Nancy Ayala said a rival faction is trying to address non-gaming related issues, namely the disenrollment of certain people from the tribe. Lewis and Ayala also objected to the continued involvement of another faction whose leaders are in jail for taking part in an armed dispute at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino on October 9.

The withdrawal means the talks will end. Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill can't force any of the parties to participate.

The casino has been closed under a permanent injunction issued by O'Neill at the request of the state. The National Indian Gaming Commission also issued a notice of violation and a temporary closure order to the tribe

The closure stems from an armed confrontation at the casino between rival factions of the tribe. Fifteen people -- including tribal leaders Tex McDonald and Vernon King -- have been charged with various crimes in state court.

So far 10 defendants have been arrested or have turned themselves in. The U.S. Marshals Service has two Nevada man listed as fugitives -- a third surrendered last week.

Get the Story:
One Chukchansi faction walking out of settlement conferences (The Fresno Bee 11/22)
California Indian Casinos Embroiled in Turmoil (AP 10/22)
U.S. Marshals seek 2 in California casino takeover (The Reno Gazette-Journal 11/22)
Man Turns Self in to California Sheriff After Alleged Casino Takeover (KTVN 1/21)
10th suspect surrenders in Chukchansi Casino takeover attempt (KSFN 11/21)
Man wanted in Chukchansi Gold raid turns himself in (The Fresno Bee 11/21)

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