Letter to Elk Grove City Attorney - Casino Matter Not Final, Land Trust Process Not Concluded

January 24, 2017 |   In a letter sent yesterday to Elk Grove City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs, and Mona Ebrahimi of the Sacramento-base...

January 24, 2017 |  

In a letter sent yesterday to Elk Grove City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs, and Mona Ebrahimi of the Sacramento-based law firm of Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, the attorney for a California Indian gaming casino watchdog group asserted the final decision on Wilton Rancheria's proposed $400 million casino resort is not yet written in stone.

The letter, from attorney Brigit S. Barnes on behalf of Stand Up For California, was in response to an announcement made on Friday, January 20 by the Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond "Chuckie" Hitchcock. In a press release, Hitchcock said the Bureau of Indian Affairs had placed the 35.9 acres the tribe is purchasing from the Howard Hughes Company into Federal trust, thus clearing the way for the development of the casino.

The Wilton Rancheria's statement said, "The U.S. Department of Interior has issued a Record of Decision to place 35.9 acres of land in Elk Grove into federal trust for Wilton Rancheria...and mark a major milestone in plans to build a resort and casino adjacent to the planned Outlet Collection mall along Highway 99."

In her letter to Hobbs, Barnes said "As you may have been informed, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a Notice of Intent on January 19 to acquire the land in trust. However, Washington D.C. counsel for Stand Up, for California! received written confirmation from the U.S. Department of Justice that the land to trust process has not been concluded, and will not be formally taken into trust until after the Bureau reviews the 705 Stay Request filed by Perkins Coie. No date has been indicated when that review will be concluded."

Barnes also said that her letter was sent because "City representatives commented publicly that no formal action related to the referendum is still necessary."

Today, the Sacramento Business Journal reported that Hitchcock said regardless of whether an election is held, the tribe in now nearly clear to proceed with their proposed development.

On Wednesday night the Elk Grove City Council will discuss the referendum that has been qualified for a special election. That referendum, which was sponsored by Emeryville, Calif.-based card room operator Knighted Ventures, will ask Elk Grove voters to overturn the ordinance passed by the Elk Grove City Council in October 2016 that released HHC from the development agreement, that was necessary to put the 35.9-acre parcel into Federal trust.

At the January 11 Elk Grove City Council meeting, Barnes spoke during public comment on the referendum and suggested that the City of Elk Grove had misled residents about their dealings with the Wilton Rancheria. The video of Barnes comments and the timeline signs she displayed can be viewed below. 

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.


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