Chukchansi Tribe fires back at gaming firm seeking $21M in court

A sculpture of a bear at the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, California, an Indian gaming facility owned and operated by the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians. Photo: Gordon Ednie

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians is responding publicly to a lawsuit that claims the California tribe owes $21 million to a gaming development firm.

In a statement, the tribe said Osceola Blackwood Ivory Gaming was already paid in connection with its work at the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. A dollar amount, though, wasn't provided.

"OBIG was a vendor of the casino, but they were well compensated for their services," the statement read. "Their lawsuit makes it clear that now OBIG wants more money than it was owed and paid; but we are a tribal government, not an ATM."

"This lawsuit is just another one in a series of unfounded and baseless demands made by OBIG and others to attempt to extort money from our tribe. We will fight it through the courts and we will win," the statement continued.

The firm, which is based in Florida, filed the lawsuit on March 16. It alleges it was promised a share of casino revenues in exchange for helping reopen the facility, which had been shut down for 14 months due to an internal leadership dispute.

But the lawsuit claims the tribe never submitted a proposed management agreement for review and approval by the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency. As a result, the firm claims it was deprived of an estimated $21 million.

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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