Artist's rendering of the Wilton Rancheria's resort project in Elk Grove, Caifornia. Image: Wilton Rancheria
California | Casino Stalker | Litigation

Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino



It took the Wilton Rancheria more than three years to gain federal approval for a casino in northern California but opponents are accusing the tribe of rushing through the process.

The tribe secured the city's support for the project as its land-into-trust application was being reviewed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. But the city's stance was not formally required by the federal agency.

Still, opponents claim city officials colluded with tribal leaders to ensure the casino went through, at least on the local level. They are asking for the city's emails, text messages and other documents in hopes of stalling the project.

“It’s a complete sham,” attorney Brigit Barnes, who denied being financed by non-Indian gaming interests, told The Sacramento Bee. “This was all planned. I think they were just desperate.”

The BIA finalized the tribe's application in February. The decision came eight years after the tribe's federal status was reaffirmed during the Obama administration.

Read More on the Story:
Could this lawsuit hurt Elk Grove’s plans for an Indian casino? (The Sacramento Bee 6/21)
Citizens' Lawsuit Suggests Elk Grove, Wilton Rancheria Worked Closely For Last 5 Years on Proposed Casino Project (The Elk Grove News 6/21)
Elk Grove Citizens Files Suit Against City Asserting Violations of Calif. Public Records Act, Brown Act Over Proposed Casino (The Elk Grove News 6/20)
Residents File Petition Against Elk Grove City Council Over Wilton Casino Project Meetings (Fox 40 6/20)
Lawsuit Accuses Elk Grove Of Secret Deals For Casino (CBS13 6/20)

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Wilton Rancheria joins lawsuit as foes challenge casino decision (March 2, 2017)
Bureau of Indian Affairs confirms Wilton Rancheria casino site in trust (February 21, 2017)