Law | Trust

Judge dismisses lawsuit against chairman of Chumash Tribe

Vincent Armenta

A judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against the leader of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

A group called Save the Valley sued Chairman Vincent Armenta over the tribe's purchase of a 1,400-acre site. The judge, however, said Armenta enjoys sovereign immunity.

“I can’t count on two hands the number of lawsuits that have been filed against me and the tribe by the county and individuals over the last 10 years,” Armenta told The Santa Maria Sun. “When’s enough enough?”

Opponents were hoping the lawsuit could prevent the tribe from using the land for housing and other purposes. The land was acquired under certain restrictions that are enforced under state law.

But those restrictions won't matter if the Bureau of Indian Affairs places the site in trust. The agency has issued a finding of no significant impact but hasn't made a final decision on the tribe's application.

Get the Story:
Judge dismisses lawsuit against Chumash tribal leaders (The Santa Maria Sun 11/13)

An Opinion:
Canary:A horse of a different color (The Santa Maria Sun 11/13)

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