Chukchansi Tribe finally distributes $1.4M in overdue gaming funds

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians owns and operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, California. Photo from Facebook Better late than never -- the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians is finally distributing $1.4 million in gaming grants in Madera County, California.

The tribe hadn't issued any grants since 2013 amid an internal leadership dispute. Then the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino got shut down for 14 months, further delaying the release of the funds.

But the tribe made good on its promise and announced the recipients of the funds on Tuesday, according to news reports. The move came nearly a year after the casino reopened.

“We can’t think of a better way to kick off the giving season than to support these 33 deserving organizations that do such important work in our community,” Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales said in a statement to The Fresno Bee. “The important work of these organizations helps to make our community a great place to live and do business.”

Although the tribe seems to have recovered from the dispute, nine former police officers who were working for one faction on the reservation say their reputations were damaged in connection with an incident that led to the closure of the casino in October 2014. They are suing the county in federal court, alleging civil rights violations.

Gonzales issued a statement to The Sierra Star, saying the nine people do not represent the tribe although none have claimed so in their court papers.

"The plaintiffs in these suits are not members of the tribe and have no standing to sue the county on our behalf. I have directed our tribal attorneys to assist the county in dismissing their lawsuit immediately," Gonzales said in the statement.

Read More on the Story:
Chukchansi community grants announced, Oakhurst organizations receive 18 of 33 awards (The Sierra Star 12/6)
Madera County says thanks for Chukchansi grants to local nonprofits (The Fresno Bee 12/6)
t’s not the Picayune Rancheria Of Chukchansi Indians suing Madera County (The Sierra Star 12/8)

National Indian Gaming Commission Documents:
Settlement Agreement SA-15-01 | NOV-14-03 / TCO-14-02 | TCO-14-01 | TCO-14-01

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