Litigation | Openings and Closings
State defends destruction of notes in Tohono O'odham Nation case



A row of electronic gaming machines at the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort in Glendale, Arizona. The Tohono O'odham Nation owns and operates the facility but can't offer Class III games there because the state refuses to certify it under the Class III gaming compact. Photo from Facebook

The state of Arizona doesn't think it should be punished for destroying documents as part of a long-running casino dispute with the Tohono O'odham Nation.

The tribe has filed a motion for sanctions against the state for destroying notes that were taken during a meeting about the tribe's controversial new casino. But the state was under "no duty" to preserve the documents, attorneys said in a legal filing that was first reported by Capitol Media Services.

"The court should see the nation’s motion for what it is—a last-ditch effort to avoid the consequences of the nation’s years-long fraud on the state, the voters, and other tribes. That effort should be rejected," the filing reads.

The notes were taken by a state attorney during a meeting with the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Those two tribes oppose the Tohono O'odham Nation's new casino.

According to the filing, the state attorney took the notes in order to brief the Director Daniel Bergin of the Department of Gaming about the issue. The attorney followed "routine practice" by getting rid of the notes, the filing reads.

The Tohono O'odham Nation opened the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort last December after overcoming numerous legal, political and regulatory hurdles. But the tribe isn't able to offer Class III games there because Bergin refuses to certify it under the Class III gaming compact.

The tribe filed the suit in hopes of authorizing Class III games at the casino.

Read More on the Story:
State gaming director denies Tohono O'odham contentions (Capitol Media Services 10/6)

Related Stories:
Tohono O'odham Nation seeks sanctions in battle over casino (09/22)
State admits destroying records in Tohono O'odham Nation fight (9/15)
Editorial: Drop the 'charade' against Tohono O'odham Nation's casino (08/18)
Judge turns tables on state in Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (8/10)
Arizona tribes send fewer gaming revenues to state in last quarter (8/3)
State takes blame for sharing Tohono O'odham Nation minutes (07/22)
Rival tribe distributes Tohono O'odham Nation gaming documents (7/13)
Tohono O'odham Nation shares $1.2M from controversial casino (06/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation told to turn over casino-related documents (6/23)
Tim Steller: Money motivates Tohono O'odham Nation casino spat (06/08)
Tohono O'odham Nation still eyeing Class III games at new facility (6/6)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (05/24)
Tohono O'odham Nation still fighting anti-casino bill on Capitol Hill (05/11)
Tribes quit Arizona Indian Gaming Association to protest new casino (5/6)
Arizona tribes continue to spend big in DC amid fight over casino (04/25)
Tohono O'odham Nation wins yet another decision on new casino (03/29)
EJ Montini: Arizona open for business except for one tribal casino (3/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation puts casino name on car race in Arizona (3/25)
Sen. McCain still bothered by failure to block Arizona tribe's casino (02/04)
Tohono O'odham Nation still can't serve alcohol at new casino (1/28)
Peter Roff: Congress should shutter Tohono O'odham Nation casino (1/27)
Tohono O'odham Nation welcomes large crowd to new casino (12/21)