BIA testimony a setback in trailer park case

A Bureau of Indian Affairs official faltered on the stand as the trial into a trailer park on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Reservation in southern California opened on Tuesday.

The BIA says Harvey Duro is operating the Desert Mobile Home Park without a lease. But superintendent James Fletcher testified that he didn't know how many other businesses on the reservation were in the same situation.

"Would it surprise you to know that there are in excess of 50 parks on tribal lands without leases?" tenants' attorney Chandra Gehri Spencer asked Fletcher, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"I have just one person who works on these lease-compliance issues," responded Fletcher, a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

The BIA wants the trailer park, also known as Duroville, shut down due to environmental and safety issues. But a person hired to inspect the facility acknowledged that she lacked experience in mobile home parks.

An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 people live at the park. Most are Indian and Hispanic migrants from Mexico and Central America.

Get the Story:
Lawyer for shantytown residents pokes holes in government's case (The Los Angeles Times 4/8)
Residents need Duro, attorney says (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 4/8)

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