Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ilitch Casino Lobbyist Keith Olberg is also president of a GOP attack committee funded by "swift-boat" founders

Sourcewatch: Congresspedia

The Economic Freedom Fund (EFF), based in Sacramento, California, is a "new deep-pocketed" conservative 527 committee, according to TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood. [1]

R. Keith Olberg, a former California Assemblyman, is EFF's president, according to the disclosure report filed October 1, 2006, by EFF with the Federal Election Commission. In October 2002, LA Weekly described Olberg, who was then running for California Secretary of State, as a "veteran Republican wonk and legislator." Olberg's wife, Delette Olberg, is "a $99,000-a-year official on the [California] Assembly GOP caucus staff." [2]

The group works with Meridian Pacific, Inc., "a two-year-old California consulting firm", Rood wrote September 14, 2006. As "further testament to its GOP bonafides," Meridian is "headed by" John Peschong, a "onetime senior Republican National Committee official [who] joined Meridian Pacific in 2005, after seven years as the Western States Director for the RNC," Rood wrote.

On September 14, 2006, EFF's "sole backer" was Texas millionaire Robert J. Perry, "who founded the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group during the 2004 elections," Rood wrote. [3]

Perry was joined September 21, 2006, by Carl H. Lindner, "part owner of the Cincinnati Reds and No. 133 on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, [who] has ponied up $50,000 to EFF. More precisely, EFF has recorded a $50,000 donation from the same address as Lindner uses in other FEC reports," Josh Marshall wrote October 4, 2006.

Marian Ilitch has employed Olberg since January 2006 and paid him nearly $200,000 to convince Sacramento lawmakers to approve her unorthodox plan to relocate two tribes clear across the state so she can open two Indian Casinos in Barstow, Calif. Marian's husband Mike Ilitch is owners of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and No. 242 on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. They have ponied up thousands to former congressman Richard Pombo which landed them at #9 on Pombo's list of Top Ten Donors -- beating out Jack Abramoff who was #10.

EFF hired Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, an Arlington, Virginia, "media firm, to prepare ads against" Democratic incumbents Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Jim Marshall (D-GA), Paul J. Nyden reported September 14, 2006, for McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

SRC&P "also prepared the Swift Boat ads attacking [John] Kerry's military service in Vietnam, where he won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts," Nyden wrote.

By the time the Economic Freedom Fund was only a month old, it had already been very active, dropping half a million bucks on negative TV ads against" Mollohan and Marshall, Paul Kiel of TPM Muckraker wrote September 14, 2006.

Circumstances used by Gov Schwarzenegger to rationalize approval of a Los Coyotes' Barstow Casino are non-existent

Someone has mislead the voters of California -- either Governor Schwarzenegger or the Michigan casino syndicate pushing the larger, off-reservation, first-of-its-kind, two casinos mega resort for Barstow, Calif.

Despite represenations by Governor Schwarzenegger office and the project applicants, the only thing San Diego's Los Coyotes Tribe is "sharing" is the Michigan Developer and Casino Resort Manager that designed, and is now bankrolling and directing, the scheme for twin casino resorts in Barstow.

Governor Schwarzenegger's negotiators have indicated in testimony before legislative committee that a Los Coyotes casino project on its own fails to meet the guidelines for approval established by the Governor May 18, 2005. There is, they have confessed, no compelling reason to approve a Los Coyotes casino off-reservation in Barstow. Nevertheless, when signing the tentative agreements in September 2005, the Governor gave as his rational for a Los Coyotes compact the following:

"The Los Coyotes Band already entered into a municipal services agreement with the City of Barstow in October 2004 in order to construct a casino on parcels identified and agreed by the City. The Tribe has also agreed to share its site with the Big Lagoon Rancheria as part of a unified casino project."

Wait a minute ... something doesn't add up here because on July 1, 2004 the City of Barstow approved plans for the Los Coyotes Band of Indians to build a casino on a site not to exceed 20 acres. The municipal agreement referenced in the Governor's comments reads:

"The Tribe will request that the United States take into trust for its benefit land not to exceed twenty contiguous acres, absent written agreement of the City, from the parcel(s) identified in Exhibit A appended hereto (“Trust Lands”). The Tribe agrees that it will not seek other or additional parcels within the City."

Despite representations made in Governor Schwarzenegger's press releases, there have been no sacrifices made nor is Los Coyotes' sharing its 20-acre site. In fact through the agreement with the Governor, the Los Coyotes' tribe realizes a great windfall -- the Los Coyotes Tribe's project alone is 20% larger (up to 25 acres) than what was originally approved in agreement with the City Council and the tribe would have the right to install almost twice the number of slot machines over what it had originally requested.

Approving a Barstow casino for Los Coyotes which fails to meet the terms outlined in Governor Schwarzenegger's own May 18, 2005 Proclamation is tremendously bad form for the Governor -- especially since they were the first two agreements negotiated after issuing the May 2005 Proclamation. And then to realize even the "exception" he's given to rationalize approvals for granting two casinos in Barstow are just plain false and misleading should be great cause for concern among all those involved -- especially the taxpayers and voters of California.

The truth is, the only thing Los Coyotes is "sharing" is the Detroit Developer and Casino Resort Manager that hatched the twin casinos scheme and is bankrolling their legal, lobbying and PR campaign pushing the Barstow location.

Barwest is the exclusive developer and has five year management contracts with both the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon tribes; earning up to 30% per year of revenue from the twin casinos resort destination for the first five years. The total proposed Barstow Casinos and Resort project is twice the acreage and has combined approvals for more than 5x the number of slots originally believed possible for Los Coyotes -- and then there are the increased revenues from a larger resort, conference and commercial activities developed on the other 75+ acres identified in the lawsuit settlement agreement between the State of California and the Big Lagoon Tribe:

"The Tribe represents that it has entered into agreements with BarWest, L.L.C., a Michigan limited liability company ("BarWest"), the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians ("Los Coyotes"), and LCB BarWest, L.L.C., a Michigan limited liability company ("LCB") for the joint development of two compatibly designed class III gaming facilities sharing access, parking and other common amenities on approximately 126.48 acres of land located in the City of Barstow, California ("Casino Site"). The Tribe further represents that BarWest has agreed to convey to the United States of America, in trust for the Tribe, title to approximately 25 acres of land located in Barstow ..."


Although it's the tribes who have been pushed out front to engender support in the PR campaign, don't let that fool anyone; the attorneys who negotiated the Barstow agreements were handpicked and are paid by the Detroit Casino Syndicate Barwest. These attorneys handle nearly all projects for the organization.

What happened to staying within the 20-acre casino site originally approved by the Barstow City Council back in 2004? ...The site Governor Schwarzenegger apparently intended for Los Coyotes to share with Big Lagoon? Where are the so-called sacrifices talked about as mitigation for the Los Coyotes Tribe's failure to otherwise meet the guidelines for off-reservation casino approvals set out in Governor Schwarzenegger's May 2005 Proclamation?

Governor Schwarzengger could have simply approved a Big Lagoon casino for Barstow and explained the compelling reasons for doing so. Frankly, a Big Lagoon casino alone would probably have been tougher for opponents to defeat and certainly not been riddled with as many flaws and contradictions. What was the real motivation for giving Barwest, of all the possible parties, two casino projects? A lot of weak and disjointed argument has been manufactured to rationalize approval for a Barwest developed and managed mega destination resort with dual Las Vega style casinos -- a master development project with profits and long-term tangental commercial development potential far beyond even Barwest's original dreams.

Friday, February 02, 2007

California Tribal Casinos: FAQs - a primer published 2/01/07 by the non-partisan office of CA Legislative Analyst Elizabeth G. Hill

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) is a nonpartisan office which provides fiscal and policy information and advice to the California Legislature.

California Tribal Casinos: Questions and Answers
February 1, 2007
Full Report: HTML PDF
In 1987, a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving two California tribes set in motion a series of federal and state actions that dramatically expanded tribal casinos here and in other states. Now, California's casino industry outranks all but Nevada's in size. In this report, we answer key questions, including: How much do tribes pay to California governments? Are the administration's near-term revenue estimates related to five proposed compacts with Southern California tribes realistic? What powers does the state have to ensure that tribes meet their obligations under the compacts?

Thanks to John Myers @ KQED Capitol Notes for bringing this to our attention.

UPDATED: Labor's Gribbon joins Sacramento team lobbying for Ilitch Family's Barstow Casinos proposal

The lead Sacramento lobbyist for the Ilitch Family announced at January 16 Barstow City Council meeting that his employers had recruited "lobbyist/analyst/consultant" Jack Gribbon, California Political Director of UNITEHERE, to their team. Gribbon, also spokesman for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, has already been involved in some paid public relations campaign efforts to support the Ilitch backed casinos.

Gribbon has a history of battling Indian Casinos to ensure that labor has a strong foothold inside those establishments. Gribbon has opposed amended compact agreements signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006 because the agreements do not mandate union representation.

The Ilitch Family is attempting for the second year in a row to develop support in the legislature and legislative ratification of agreements that would allow them to build and manage two off-reservation Indian casinos in Barstow, Calif.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed tentative agreements with the Big Lagoon Rancheria (Humboldt County) and Los Coyotes (San Diego County) Bands of Indians in 2005 but in order for the agreements to be valid they must be ratified by both the State Assembly and Senate. An Assembly Committee rejected the proposals in June 2006. The tentative agreements are set to expire sometime in 2007 if not ratified soon.

During a “Casino Update” at the last Barstow City Council meeting, GOP politico turned Ilitch Family lobbyist Keith Olberg described recruiting Gribbon to his team of lobbyists/consultants/analysts as "significant" because Gribbon speaks for a large block of the labor movement; is respected by all of labor and is very close personal friends with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles).

The Ilitch Family already employees Olberg (Capitol Ventures, Roseville), Governmental Advocates, Inc., and C.W. “Nick” Medeiros, Inc. to represent their interests in the Barstow casinos. Medeiros had been a lobbyist for the Ilitch Family in Hawaii when Marian Ilitch attempted to legalize gambling in the Islands and develop Waikiki casinos several years ago. According to documents filed with the Secretary of State, a casino syndication backed by the Ilitch Family paid these lobbyists more than $400,000.00 for lobbying support during the last half of the 2005-06 legislative session. There are, however, major reporting discrepancies between lobbying disclosure documents filed by Olberg and both the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes bands of Indians. (more on this topic)

Labor's Gribbon denies he's on board lobbying for Ilitch Family backed Casinos; it's all semantics

The Verifiable Truth has heard from Sacramento-based Jack Gribbon, political organizer and lobbyist/analyst/consultant for Labor who denies involvement as a "contract" lobbyist for the Ilitch Family backed Barstow Casinos. Glad to know he's reading our weblog.

At a recent public meeting, former GOP Assemblyman Keith Olberg, acknowledged as heading up the Ilitch Family's Sacramento lobbying team had reported on the addition of Gribbon and others to their efforts saying Team Ilitch had "shuffled a couple of positions within our Barstow team ... bringing in a lobbyist/consultant/analyst."

Olberg described Gribbon's credentials and emphasized Gribbon's relationship with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

Olberg said Gribbon was "Very close to the speaker, personally, personal friends" and Olberg indicated he expected having Gribbon on board would pay bigger dividends and buy him better access to the Speaker’s Office this time around.

Gribbon insists, "I have not, nor will I be, retained by the Ilitch family to lobby on behalf of the Los Coyotes or Big Lagoon compacts."

However, Gribbon, a paid advocate for labor interests, has already been involved in grassroots lobbying and paid public relations efforts to promote the Ilitch casinos resort development. Of course his financial well-being is tied to this kind of effort.

Gribbon added, "I am an employee of UNITE HERE, I am not a 'contract lobbyist' and I have no financial relationship with the Ilitch family."

Thank you for clarifying that Jack.

Lobbyist failed to report $66,677 from Big Lagoon Rancheria

California lobbying disclosure reports have been filed through December 31, 2006 closing out the 2005-2006 legislative cycle. After our last post on this matter, " Irregularities in Lobbying Disclosures for Barstow Casinos bankrolled by Ilitch Detroit-based Syndicate ," operatives for Marian Ilitch attempted some creative accounting and filed an amended document on behalf of the Big Lagoon Rancheria when complying with the January 31, 2007 filing deadline. There's no covering up the discrepancies that are well documented after 4 filing periods.

Big Lagoon Rancheria represents making payments of $161,964 to R. Keith Olberg for lobbying activity during quarters 5-8 of the 2005-06 Legislative cycle. Although there is nothing on file authorizing Olberg to undertake lobbying activity on behalf of the Big Lagoon tribe, the tribe reported payments to Olberg for lobbying services each of the final four quarters:

Lobbying Payment Disclosures 2006

31-Mar

30-Jun

30-Sep

31-Dec

Total

Big Lagoon reported

$30,000

$46,000

$23,000

$62,964

$161,964

Olberg reported

$15,000

$24,769

$24,036

$31,482

$95,287

$66,677

As reported in disclosures on file with the CA Secretary of State

Based on disclosure reports, Olberg failed to acknowledge $66,677 in payments Big Lagoon indicates it made to Olberg in quarters 5-8 of the 2005-06 cycle.

In quarters 5 & 6, Olberg reports his "employer" as "BIG LAGOON RANCHERIA" and then a subtle change is made in quarters 7 & 8 when Olberg lists his employers as "Big Lagoon Rancheria/Barwest." There are no records of disclosure on file for Barwest as a lobbyist employer

You may also want to review these posts:
The Verifiable Truth: Irregularities in Lobbying Disclosures for Barstow Casinos bankrolled by Ilitch Detroit-based Syndicate
The Verifiable Truth: More Lobbying Irregularities related to Barstow Casino raising question about who's paying the bills and why they are hiding
The Verifiable Truth: By Bankrolling lobbying expenses behind the scenes, Casino Syndicators were free to flow political cash

Ilitch Holdings Inc. reports it's a $1.6 billion enterprise; Nevertheless taxpayers can expect to fund their hockey arena

February 2, 2007


Freep.com

Ilitch empire grows but no word on Joe
February 2, 2007

BY TOM WALSH
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST


PADUCAH, Ky. -- Life is good these days in the Ilitch family businesses.

Little Caesar Enterprises, the pizza chain at the heart of the family fortune, added more than 200 stores in 2006.

Up to 100 more new stores could be opened in the next two years by U.S. military veterans under a new program inspired by an Ilitch gift to wounded Iraq war veteran Robbie Doughty.

Doughty's Little Caesars franchise's grand opening in Kentucky on Thursday drew Ilitch family members from Detroit and a congratulatory note from President George W. Bush.The Detroit Tigers baseball team, owned by family patriarch Mike Ilitch, 77, is reaping the benefits of last year's improbable run to the World Series, selling tickets like crazy for the 2007 season.

MotorCity Casino, owned by Mike's wife, Marian Ilitch, is nearing completion of its permanent $300-million, 400-room casino-hotel near Grand River and the Lodge freeway in Detroit.

Ilitch Holdings, the umbrella firm for the family food and entertainment interests, is now a $1.6-billion enterprise, with double the $800 million in annual revenue it produced in 2000, said Christopher Ilitch, 41, president and CEO.

Amid this run of prosperity, the biggest hanging question in Ilitchland today remains, "What about Joe Louis Arena?"

What will the family do about the 28-year-old home of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, which occupies a prime spot on Detroit's riverfront alongside the Cobo Center convention complex? Renovate the existing Joe? Or build a new arena, perhaps on land the family owns behind its Fox Theatre headquarters?

Pose that question, as we do whenever we chat up the Ilitch clan, and you get to see Mike and Chris Ilitch dance, feint and weave, as they did Thursday when I raised the subject.

Mike Ilitch, who told me in late September that a decision could be 30 days away, sounded for a moment Thursday like a man who'd made up his mind.

"We're there, pretty much. I think we got our homework all done," Ilitch said Thursday, about a year after the family announced it had hired a firm to study the build-or-renovate question.

"We don't see anything standing in the way of being able to go forward other than carving out the deal. We're looking forward to making sure that what we do now makes sense, that we can build it right, so that we can project our business ... and make it a profitable operation."
Hmmm. Sounds like the aim is a new arena, yes?

In years past, Mike Ilitch added, "I wasn't even thinking about another arena. We had in the back of our minds that we probably redo the Joe. You know, we kept thinking that we've got the water there, people are used to coming, that's kind of the mindset that we had. But, you know, times change, with the development that's going on in the city."

Double-hmmm. Definitely sounds like the tilt is toward building new, yes?

But then a hem: "Whatever we do, we've got to make sure it's the right thing."

And then a haw: "It's just a matter of deciding what we're going to do."

Then he deferred to son Chris Ilitch for the official word.

And Chris insisted that remodeling the Joe is "an extremely viable alternative."

When I suggested that a renovation decision could be announced immediately, while the build-new option might take longer to nail down if land parcels must be acquired for adequate parking at a new site, etc., Chris Ilitch replied, "If we want to play cat-and-mouse on this and read tea leaves, we can also point out that we made significant improvements at the Joe this year: a video-wall scoreboard and a renovated Gordie Howe entrance."

OK, that was enough sparring over the future of the Joe Louis Arena.

I sidled over to Doughty, 32, who lost both legs to an Iraqi roadside bomb explosion in 2004, and his partner, fellow veteran Lloyd Allard, to talk about their new career as pizza franchise operators, thanks to the gift of a new pizza outlet from Mike Ilitch.

There was nothing hesitant about their plans. "Once we get this one up and going, we're going to open one in Clarksville (Tennessee, Allard's hometown 90 minutes from Paducah) and everywhere in between," Allard vowed.

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepresscom. For information on Little Caesars' discounted franchise opportunities for veterans, visit www.littlecaesars.com/veterans. Or call the Center for Veterans Enterprise at 866-584-2344.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Senator Ashburn supports Casino in Barstow; ambivalent toward Big Lagoon or Los Coyotes, open to supporting other tribes



Another try at twin casinos
Bill would OK compact for Barstow plan

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
02/01/2007

Legislation was introduced Wednesday in Sacramento that would ratify gaming compacts for two California Indian tribes with aspirations to build a twin-casino resort in Barstow.

In Barstow, casino supporters have touted the casino plan as a way to jump-start the desert city's economy by snagging gambling dollars that would otherwise travel north along Interstate 15 to Las Vegas.

The new bill, introduced by state Sens. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, and Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, represents a second effort to gain the Legislature's support for the casino plan after an Assembly committee killed a similar bill last year.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Ashburn acknowledged that he expected a long battle over the bill, although he expects the state will benefit economically if the proposed casinos are built.

"That casino will intercept dollars that are going to go to Las Vegas," said Ashburn, who also represents Barstow. "I didn't pick the tribes. I would be in favor of a casino in Barstow if it were other tribes."

The fact that the two tribes who would benefit from the bill are not based in the High Desert has generated some controversy. The bill would ratify compacts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed in 2005 with Humboldt County's Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians, which is based in north San Diego County.

For the tribes to build a casino in Barstow, the federal Department of the Interior would have to designate the project site as "land in site," which would be analogous to a small Indian reservation.

That possibility offends the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino north of San Bernardino and Highland. San Manuel spokesman Jacob Coin said the San Manuels believe it would be improper for the government to set aside land for other tribes in an area where the San Manuels trace their heritage.

"We remain concerned about the encroachment of the tribes on the ancestral land of the Serrano," Coin said.

"Serrano," derived from the Spanish word for mountaineer, is the name given to the ancestors of today's San Manuels by Europeans.

When Assembly members axed the casino bill last year, some lawmakers cited such geographical and historical factors as reasons to oppose the plan.

Tom Shields, a spokesman for the tribes and BarWest Gaming, the Detroit-based company that would develop the twin-casino project, defended the tribes' intentions. He said federal law allows tribes to build off-reservation casinos to catalyze economic development when casinos would be impractical on tribal lands.

If the tribes were to build on their own land, Shields said, the Big Lagoon tribe would wind up building a casino on environmentally sensitive land while the Los Coyotes would likely be unable to attract gamblers to their rural reservation.

Further complicating the issue is the interest of the San Bernardino County-based Chemehuevi Indian Tribe in building a casino in Barstow. The Chemehuevis already operate a casino near the Colorado River, and Chemehuevi spokesman Larry Tenney said the tribe has not been able to move forward with any Barstow-related work as long as Sacramento's attention is focused on the tribes allied with BarWest.

Last year, a similar bill to the one introduced Wednesday was carried by Ashburn and state Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata. Wiggins, also a Democrat, succeeded Chesbro in the state Senate after being elected in November. The new bill is also backed by Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Humboldt, who supported the 2006 legislation.

To Tenney, the lack of new names on the bill suggests a lack of broad support for the plan in Sacramento.

"There's nothing new here," Tenney said. "They're just blocking anyone else, like the Chemehuevis, from moving in."

Coin said the San Manuels would not oppose a Chemehuevi casino in Barstow because of that tribe's historic ties to the Mojave Desert.

Legislators could also spend time this year on casino matters that would directly affect the San Manuels. Last year, the governor signed an amended gaming compact with the tribe that would allow for a significant expansion of gaming operations in return for a greater amount of gambling revenue going to the state.

Press Release: 2007 CA Legislation, reintroducing the Barstow Casinos plan previously rejected by an Assembly Committee

Team Ilitch's PRNewswire press release ...

Legislators, environmental, labor & tribal leaders: 'Now's the time'

DETROIT, Michigan Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Legislators, environmental, labor, City of Barstow and tribal representatives from the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians and Big Lagoon Rancheria gathered today at the State Capitol to announce the introduction of legislation (Senate Bill 157) to approve the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon gaming compacts. (
Full press release)

Translations

Legislators = Four of the six who’ve supported the measure previously (Maze, Ashburn, Berg & Yee ) and Patricia Wiggins who replaced Wes Chesbro, the author of the same legislation during the 2006 session. That’s five legislative proponents; down one from last year. But they didn't mention that.

Environmental = the 76 families who own homes on the beach near Big Lagoon -- described as "cabins" many of them are actually estates according to records on file with the California Coastal Commission and Humboldt County. It is not the Big Lagoon they want to preserve but their own secluded elite enclave. Take A GOOGLE Earth view of the site. Besides, the agreement prohibits building a casino on the Big Lagoon Reservation BUT NOT any other development. The Moorehead Family is free to to pursue everthing from residential development to an outlet mall to a regional trash recycling center on their reservation. They claim to be adding acreage to their reservation holdings now.

Labor = Ilitch lobbyist Keith Olberg revealed last month that his employers had retained another new lobbyist on their team; Jack Gribbon, California Political Director of UNITEHERE. At a Barstow City Council meeting, Olberg highlighted the significance of Gribbon’s “close personal relationship” with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

City of Barstow = Clearly Marian Ilitch has some deal cut with Mayor Lawrence Dale; when every other member of the City Council has backed multiple proposals for Barstow he has only backed Marian Ilitch and he’s abused his mayoral privileges to Ilitch’s advantage; he reportedly violated the constitutional rights of his constituents on more than one occassion. Team Ilitch had groomed and financed Tim Silva’s campaign for City Council. Prior to that Silva had liens o his property and citations from the City. A committee backing Silva bankrolled activity supporting his election and that of another newly elected City Council member but doesn’t report receiving any money.

Tribal Leaders = Marian Ilitch is reportedly paying each of the tribal leaders a $15,000- $25,000 monthly stipend plus covering their expenses in Las Vegas and elsewhere to proceed with her plans. In 2004, Los Coyotes terminated their contractual relationship with Ilitch. Ilitch also provided stipends to Francine Kupsich and those who put on the “hunger fast” last August and those who appeared as “grassroots” supporters in Barstow last June. One has to wonder if their fellow tribal members are aware of this. And where has the $1.1 million gone that each tribe gets annually from the gaming tribes. For Big Lagoon that’s approximately $55,000 per capita for each of 20 family members; far greater than the average household income in California … and they get to live in one of the most pristine coastal locations in the world … who could complain about that? It's hardly the profile of people living in poverty.


You may want to review these posts:
The Verifiable Truth: as predicted -- Ilitch Casino Team fails to produce any hopeful news
The Verifiable Truth:
Press Release--2007 CA Legislation, reintroducing the Barstow Casinos plan previously rejected by an Assembly Committee
The Verifiable Truth:
Re-introducing rejected Barstow Casino Bill, Ilitch finds herself even further behind
The Verifiable Truth:
Bottom of the ninth and Ilitch's Barstow Casinos scheme is down by at least 57 votes
The Verifiable Truth:
Legislative Score Card
The Verifiable Truth:
Senator Ashburn supports Casino in Barstow; ambivalent toward Big Lagoon or Los Coyotes, open to supporting other tribes

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bottom of the ninth and Ilitch's Barstow Casinos scheme is down by at least 57 votes

Legislative Scorecard
Detroit Syndicate's Barstow Casinos Scheme


As deadlines loom for legislation to be considered in California's 2007 legislative session and without any real "news" to report by Team Ilitch, already running a deficit of supporters over 2006; let's take a look at where things stand on the legislative scorecard relative to Detroit's Barstow Casinos.

2006 Session
1. Senator Wesley Chesbro
2. Assemblywoman Patty Berg
3. Senator Roy Ashburn *
4. Assemblyman Bill Maze *
5. Assemblyman Leland Yee *
6. Assemblyman Jay La Suer

Since 2005, Ilitch's California lobbyists and Michigan PR agency have been able to attract the public support of just six legislators; two of those were termed out of office in 2006; one of them was the author of Ilitch's failed 2006 legislation.

It was announced yesterday at yet another of their 11th Hour press conferences that Senator Patricia Wiggins, elected last fall to Wes Chesbro's former seat, and Barstow area Senator Roy Ashburn would author the repeat legislation in the 2007 session. The same plans were rejected by an Assembly committee in June and in the previous March a Senate Committee temporarily moth-balled the plans when it refused to take any action at all.

Clearly Team Ilitch was holding out trying to recruit an author of greater prominence on this topic or they wouldn't have waited until this late in the game to make the announcement. They've had more than six months to figure it out.

Even with the addition of Wiggins, that still leaves the Ilitch Team down one from last year, and that's assuming Berg, Maze and Yee are still on deck, which hasn't been confirmed.

With 80 members in the Assembly and 40 in the Senate, Team Ilitch needs, at the very minimum, another 57 votes spread appropriately between the two houses of the legislature to ratify the agreements that would allow Ilitch to relocate two tribal casinos to Barstow, Calif. and pave the way for her to develop a mega-resort halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. That's 57 votes in three months and their track record is 5 votes in eighteen months.


2007 Session
1. Senator Patricia Wiggins
2. Assemblywoman Patty Berg
3. Senator Roy Ashburn*
4. Assemblyman Bill Maze * ???
5. Assemblyman Leland Yee* ???
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* have received political campaign contributions from Team Ilitch

You may want to review these posts:
The Verifiable Truth: as predicted -- Ilitch Casino Team fails to produce any hopeful news
The Verifiable Truth:
Press Release--2007 CA Legislation, reintroducing the Barstow Casinos plan previously rejected by an Assembly Committee
The Verifiable Truth:
Re-introducing rejected Barstow Casino Bill, Ilitch finds herself even further behind
The Verifiable Truth: Senator Ashburn supports Casino in Barstow; ambivalent toward Big Lagoon or Los Coyotes, open to supporting other tribes

as predicted: Ilitch Casino Team fails to produce any hopeful news

KQED’s John Myers @ Capitol Notes reported this afternoon …

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One City, Two Casinos, Three Months

That kind of sums up the latest chapter on efforts to bring two tribal casinos to the city of Barstow, as new legislation was introduced today to finally ratify these unusual... and controversial... deals.

The formal gaming compacts struck between Governor Schwarzenegger, the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County, and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla Indians of San Diego County failed to make it out of the Legislature last year. Los Coyotes' reservation is easily more than 100 miles from Barstow; Big Lagoon
is easily several hundred miles form the desert city.

This afternoon, the Big Lagoon and Los Coyotes compacts were re-introduced as SB 157, by Sen. Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) and Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield).

So what does the "Three Months" in the headline refer to? Well, that may be all the time that's left on the Barstow deal.

The Big Lagoon tribe's legal battle with the state over their original plans for a casino in Humboldt has been on hold, while the tribe has attempted to set up shop down south. But tribal chairman Virgil Moorehead told reporters today that the time out could end as soon as May. In May, the tribe can legally walk away from the Barstow project and take their chances in court with a casino back at home.

"We decided to go to Barstow upon the request of the governor of this state," he said. "This legislative session is the final go for us." (Full Post)

Barstow casino scheme has stalled since 2005; aging Schwarzenegger agreements set to expire soon absent swift ratification

Last year, Marian Ilitch’s Detroit-based casino syndication team vowed they would win approval of their scheme for dual Indian casinos in Barstow when the California Legislature reconvened this month in Sacramento. In reality they're no closer than they were a year ago, they have no measureable progress to report and some would argue they faced a major setback when Senator Wes Chesbro, the author of legislation to approve their agreements and the only passionate supporter of their cause, was termed out of office last fall. The aging agreements they negotiated with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 are set to expire this legislative session if they aren't approved by both the Assembly and Senate soon.

In lieu of anything substantive to signal real progress in the California Legislature, the best the Ilitch team could do this past week was issue press releases filled with "spin" in an attempt to convince reporters and others that they are committed and making progress; and pose a veiled threat to the legislature.

As the 2007 legislative session gets underway, Ilitch and company find themselves at the same place they were a year ago – holding aging agreements signed by Schwarzenegger in 2005, absent an author or the introduction of legislation to serve as the vehicle for approval of those agreements and without crucial public commitments from any additional Sacramento lawmakers to support their scheme.

Among other triggers, the agreements Schwarzenegger has autographed are of no value unless ratified by the legislature soon. Failing to win ratification last year, the Ilitch crew has just months to make it happen.

The Ilitch organization, its two tribal partners and three Sacramento lobbying firms have failed to make any progress of their own, but have successfully blocked any other parties from making progress on alternative plans for casino development in Barstow – the halfway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Wes Chesbro, former state Senator, the author legislation to approve their Barstow scheme in the 2006 session. Chesbro’s term expired in 2006 and term limits prohibited him from seeking re-election. Ilitch and her Native American partners, the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Bands of Indians, lost their only true legislative champion and were left without an author for legislation.

Including Chesbro, the Ilitch casino syndication had only won public commitments of support for their agreements from six legislators. Three of those were obligatory “co-authors” of Chesbro’s legislation because their districts, like Chesbro’s, include parties to the agreements (either the City of Barstow or Big Lagoon Rancheria). Two others (Assemblymen La Suer and Yee) indicated their support publicly after Chesbro and his original co-authors introduced the legislation.

The agreements were heard by the Senate Governmental Organization (GO) Committee last March (click to view). It was clear at the hearing Senators did not approve of the agreement but rather than take a public vote and sink the agreements at that time, the GO Committee concluded the hearing without any action.

The legislative time clock was ticking and absent any progress in the Senate, lobbyists for the Ilitch team worked with Chesbro to have legislation shepherding the agreements gutted and the agreements slipped into other legislation in the Assembly at the eleventh hour desperately hoping to find support their. The Assembly GO Committee scheduled a hearing on the agreements late in June and unlike their colleagues in the Senate, the Assembly committee members voted to reject the agreements.


ASSOCIATED PRESS
12:22 p.m. June 29, 2006

BARSTOW – An Assembly committee rejected proposed side-by-side Indian casinos by so-called reservation-shopping tribes hoping to lure Las Vegas-bound gamblers off Interstate 15 in Barstow.

Wednesday's vote by the Assembly Governmental Organizational Committee likely dooms Barstow casinos for the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians of San Diego County and the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County.

The chairman of the Assembly GO Committee, Jerome Horton, (now also termed out of office) attempted to broker a workable compromise in July/August with the various Native American concerns(San Manuel, Big Lagoon, Chemehuevi and others). Reportedly the tribes came to an understanding that would have taken Ilitch out of the driver’s seat but brought an end to inter-tribal struggles.

That didn’t settle well with Ilitch and her team pleaded with Schwarzenegger’s staff to hold off on agreeing to any new proposal. In effect, legislators and the Native American interests (including Ilitch partners) were prepared to move the proposal forward and resolve the lawsuit between the state and Big Lagoon but it was the Detroit-based Ilitch gaming interests that blocked progress.

The Ilitch team tried unsuccessfully to have the Assembly rules suspended last summer in order to pursue other options for approval in the closing weeks of the 2006 legislative session. One of Ilitch’s Indian partners resorted to theatrics and staged a hunger fast on the lawn of the state capitol. That generated media interest but failed to win any new supporters in the legislature.

RGT Online - Daily News
August 17, 2006


SACRAMENTO, California – As reported by the Desert Sun: "An American Indian band that hopes to build a casino in Barstow is attempting to get on the fast track.

"The Los Coyotes Band of Cahilla and Cupeno Indians began a fast at the state Capitol that will continue until the legislature ratifies a gaming agreement, or compact, according to Tom Shields, public relations agent for the band. In a press release, he wrote that compacts for the band and the Big Lagoon Rancheria Indians, who hope to build a dual casino in Barstow, are stalled.

"Shields said in a telephone interview that the fast began Wednesday after noon with three or four band members. Other band members and supporters will join the group in the coming days, he said. Some will fast on the Capitol lawn until the compacts get approved, but others will fast a day or so at a time, he said.

"…The state Assembly Government Organization Committee voted 7-0 to turn down the Los Coyotes/Big Lagoon compact in June…"
And now, there’s nothing other than what Ilitch’s PR team has distributed to suggest there is any thing new, any real hope in 2007. To the contrary, as long as Marian Ilitch and her "bulldogs" (as one former partner called them) stand in the way, Barstow looks like it will come up empty handed.

The terms of Senator Chesbro and Assemblyman La Suer expired last year and California's term limits laws prohibited them from running for re-election; that leaves just four of the six supporters still in office.

It should also be noted that Assemblyman Leland Yee accepted $3,300 from Marian Ilitch's partner Michael J. Malik, Sr. on June 4/5, 2006; weeks before his June 28, 2006 vote in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee to support the Compacts. The Committee voted as a whole to reject the agreements.





2006 Legislative Proponents
1. Senator Roy Ashburn (R-18) [1]
2. Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-34) [2]
3. Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-2) [3]
4. Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-1) [4]
** ↓support after bill introduced↓ **
5. Assemblyman Jay La Suer (R-77) [5]
6. Assemblyman Leland Yee (D-12) [6]

[1] Represents Barstow, co-author SB 168
[2] Represents Barstow, co-author SB 168
[3] Represents Humboldt County (Big Lagoon Reservation), author SB 168
[4] Represents Humboldt County (Big Lagoon Reservation), principal co-author SB 168
[5] Represents Eastern San Diego County
[6] Represents Bay Area; Speaker Pro Tem (card club supported/opposes Indian gaming)



Also for reference, available at Governor Schwarzenegger's web site:
* Big Lagoon Rancheria Compact
* Settlement Between the State of California & Big Lagoon Rancheria
* Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians Compact

You may also want to review these posts:
The Verifiable Truth: Big Lagoon Rancheria purchases 16 acres
The Verifiable Truth: Big Lagoon Rancheria trust plan under fire
The Verifiable Truth: In a move right out of the Ilitch Bay Mills playbook, CA's Big Lagoon acquires 16 acres, increases leverage
The Verifiable Truth:Ilitch & Company report spending $2.42 million lobbying for East Coast casino expansions; just $80k for Barstow plan
Capitol Notes: Trial Casino Deal Debated


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lobbyist indicates Senator Wiggins would sponsor Ilitch Family's Barstow casinos legislation


A California lobbyist for the Ilitch Family revealed first term state Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) would sponsor a second piece of legislation aimed at winning legislative ratification of agreements to allow a Detroit-based casino syndicate to develop two off-reservation casinos in Barstow, Calif. The deadline to submit bill requests to the Office of Legislative Counsel was January 26.

GOP politico, now Ilitch Family lobbyist, Keith Olberg revealed this information during a "Casino Update" at a Barstow City Council meeting January 16.

Wiggins was elected to the California Senate in November 2006 to fill the coastal Humboldt County seat vacated due to term limits by Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata).

Chesbro attempted to shepherd the same plans through the legislature in 2006 but a Senate Committee chaired by Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield) failed to take any action on the plans in March 2006 and an Assembly committee chaired by Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood) voted to reject the agreements in June. The agreements with the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon Rancheria Bands of Indians, which must be ratified by the legislature this year or they expire, were originally signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

During the 2006 legislative session only six members of the legislature vowed publicly to support the plans and one of those was Chesbro who is no longer in office.

The addition of Wiggins could bring the total supporters on the record back to six out of 120 total Sacramento legislators.

Wiggins would be expected to take up Chesbro's torch given the only remotely compelling public policy case for relocating off-reservation casinos clear across the state to Barstow is tied to preservation of the Big Lagoon reserve in the nothern most section of Wiggins' District. Wiggins' constituents would expect her to take on the cause which has failed thus far to capture the interest of any other member of the legislature.

While the agreements would guarantee no future casino development on the Big Lagoon Rancheria lands it doesn't prohibit other development or future uses which could impact the Big Lagoon. The Big Lagoon Rancheria is sovereign territory. The family that makes up the Big Lagoon Indian tribe has consistently made that point clear and has reported recently the acquisitions of additional acreage to their current reservation (trust lands) for other development purposes. Some believe that was a threat designed as leverage in negotiations with the legislature.

Ilitch's Team has known since last summer that it would need to find a new author for legislation in a 2007 session with Chesbro's departure. Unless there is a significant show of support from an additional block of legislators at this anticipated announcement and if the author they've secured is Wiggins, it would further signal the agreements are on the same doomed path they took in 2006. If Wiggins refused to carry the legislation on Ilitch's behalf that would also be troubling news.

Under the gun, Ilitch Family publicist says they'll make announcement on future of Barstow casino Feb. 1

Under the gun, with this week's deadline to introduce legislation for consideration by the California Legislature in 2007, a publicist for the Ilitch Family of Detroit Michigan told The Sun they'll finally make an announcement on Feb. 1 to indicate who will shepherd a second attempt to win legislative approval of their plans for dual casinos in Barstow, Calif. A casino syndicate backed by the Ilitch Family has bankrolled the unorthodox plans for the Barstow location since 2002 but the plans have yet to capture support of lawmakers in Sacramento or Washington D.C.

Based on a presentation by an Ilitch lobbyist at a January 16 Barstow City Council meeting, it is expected that first-term Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) from Humboldt County will author the legislation. Wiggins filled the seat formerly held by Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) who was faced with term limits and left office last year.

Chesbro attempted to shepherd the same plans through the legislature in 2006 but a Senate Committee chaired by Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield) failed to take any action on the plans in March 2006 and an Assembly committee chaired by Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood) voted to reject the agreements in June. The agreements, which must be ratified by the legislature this year or they expire, were originally signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

During the 2006 legislative session only six members of the legislature vowed publicly to support the plans and one of those was Chesbro who is no longer in office.

Wiggins would be expected to take up Chesbro's torch given the only remotely compelling public policy case for relocating off-reservation casinos clear across the state to Barstow is tied to preservation of the Big Lagoon reserve in the nothern most section of Wiggins' District. Wiggins' constituents would expect her to take on the cause which has failed thus far to capture the interest of any other member of the legislature.

While the agreements would guarantee no future casino development on the Big Lagoon Rancheria lands it doesn't prohibit other development or future uses which could impact the Big Lagoon. The Big Lagoon Rancheria is sovereign territory. The family that makes up the Big Lagoon Indian tribe has consistently made that point clear and is looking to add acreage to their current reservation (trust lands) for development purposes.

Ilitch's Team has known for six months that it would need to find a new author for legislation with Chesbro's departure. Unless there is a significant show of support from legislators at this anticipated announcement and if the author they've secured is Wiggins, it would further signal the agreements are doomed again this year. If Wiggins refused to carry the legislation on Ilitch's behalf that would also be troubling news.




In Brief 01-30-2007
Staff Reports

HIGH DESERT
Casino company set to name legislative sponsor


A Detroit-based company that needs legislative support for its effort to develop a two-casino project in Barstow could announce later this week which lawmaker will officially support its plan.

Tom Shields, a spokesman for BarWest Gaming, said the company plans to hold a news conference as early as Wednesday in Sacramento to reveal who will sponsor a bill that would allow the casino plan to move forward. BarWest Gaming is working with the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians of north San Diego County, and the Humboldt County-based Big Lagoon Rancheria Tribe to build off-reservation Indian casinos in Barstow.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed gaming compacts with both tribes, but an Assembly committee rejected the deals in June. The Legislature and federal Department of the Interior must approve the project for the Barstow casinos to
be built.

http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_5116254

Monday, January 29, 2007

NEWS: Contradicts Ilitch, Los Coyotes say about prospects of northeastern San Diego County casino development

January 27, 2007



Tribes to build casinos large and small

By: EDWARD SIFUENTES - Staff Writer

SANTA YSABEL ---- Five years after the first American Indian casino opened its doors in North County, tribal gambling continues grow taller, larger and farther into the region's backcountry.

Remote wilderness where sage and grass once grew is now covered with grand palaces nurturing a different kind of harvest. Casinos filled to capacity with slot machines and Las Vegas-style table games have sprung up like poppies along the San Luis Rey River corridor up to Palomar Mountain and Lake Henshaw ---- the traditional home of several San Diego County bands of American Indians.

About 30 miles east of Escondido, the Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Indians is putting the finishing touches on its casino near the northern tip of its rocky reservation overlooking Lake Henshaw.

"You are going to be amazed when you look at it," Santa Ysabel Chairman Johnny Hernandez said proudly about the casino. "It's a great view."

The 700-member tribe plans to open its casino in March. When it opens, it will join four others in the area north of State Route 78 and east of Interstate 15 at the Pala, Pauma, Rincon and San Pasqual Indian reservations. The La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, which opened in 2002 a small "slot arcade," closed it two years ago while it plans a larger facility.


Late start
North County casinos now attract thousands of visitors to the area. They have become economic engines for local Indian communities that were mired in poverty and whose residents were increasingly leaving them in search of better opportunities elsewhere.Santa Ysabel tribal leaders said they hope their casino will generate enough revenue to provide health care for their elders, education for their young and better infrastructure for their community.The casino will compete for customers with others closer to major highways.

That's why the tribe intentionally kept it small, at about 35,000 square feet and 349 revenue-generating slot machines. Keeping the number of machines under 350 will allow the tribe to continue to receive stipends from the revenue-sharing trust fund from wealthier tribes' casinos.
Hernandez said they chose the spot perched on the hill for its scenic beauty. His tribe hopes to capture some of the thousands of travelers who visit Julian and the surrounding countryside looking to get away from "city life," Hernandez said.

"We made it our casino," Hernandez said. "We didn't want to make it Harrah's."

Harrah's, the Las Vegas casino entertainment giant, is a partner with the neighboring Rincon Band of San Luiseno Indians in a huge resort casino with a high-rise hotel near Valley Center.

Residents and some county officials have raised concerns over increased traffic accidents and crime as a result of the casinos.

"We have many people call us about the accidents there," on State Route 76, said Sheila Walson. She and her husband, Gerald Walson, are Bonsall residents and community activists on traffic issues related to State Route 76.

Last year, San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Sean Gerrity, commander of the Valley Center-Pauma substation, released a report that said the influx of casino customers was the most reasonable explanation of why crime figures more than doubled from 1999 ---- when there were no casinos in the area ---- to 2005.

But tribal leaders say they have contributed money to the county, as part of their state agreement, for law enforcement, emergency and fire services to help offset some of the problems.


New players
While Santa Ysabel begins its venture into gambling, two other tribes in the area have already negotiated deals with the state, allowing them to build larger casinos with more than 2,000 slot machines each. The Pala Band of Mission Indians owns a large-scale casino hotel and resort 15 miles north of Escondido.

The Pauma Band of Mission Indians a few miles east of the Pala Indian Reservation announced last year that it will build a $300 million casino and hotel with the help of its partners, the Mashantucket Pequots' Foxwoods Development Co.

Hernandez said he's not worried about competition. Most tribal leaders say that having a cluster of casinos attracts visitors to the area, benefiting all.

Alan Meister, an economist with the financial consulting firm Analysis Group, said that San Diego County tribes have reason to be optimistic. San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties have a combined population of about 18 million.

"There are definitely going to be competition effects," Meister said. "That's why you see all the advertising. They want you to choose one over the other, but there are a lot of customers to go around."

In his annual Indian Gaming Industry Report, Meister estimated that Indian gambling revenues grew about 24 percent, from $5.8 billion in 2004 to $7 billion in 2005. There are 57 Indian casinos in California ---- including eight in San Diego County ---- with about 60,000 slot machines."

Based upon the continued statewide growth of Indian gaming, California does not seem to be near its saturation point," Meister wrote in his report. "Thus, an increase in the supply of gaming may continue to yield positive returns."


San Pasqual
Leaders with the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians seem to agree. The tribe's casino is expanding to more than double its size, from 43,000 to 110,000 square feet. In November, casino officials unveiled a new six-story parking structure.

The $114 million project will also add a larger buffet area, a steak house, lounge, three bars and other amenities. When completed, the larger casino will accommodate 2,000 slot machines, said Joe Navarro, president of the tribe's casino development group.

Navarro said business is good and the expansion will meet growing customer demands."

Our expansion is 100 percent guest-driven," he said. "We are bursting at the seams. We set records on our small facility. It's definitely a need-based expansion."

Navarro said the tribe abandoned a plan to build a larger casino and resort overlooking Lake Wohlford on the southern end of the reservation due to road access problems and other hurdles. He said the tribe instead plans to build on the current site, possibly adding a hotel later on.


Plans big and small
A few miles north of the San Pasqual reservation, the Pauma tribe's project is undergoing an environmental impact review ---- a requirement under agreements that tribes sign with the state. A new deal signed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 allows the tribe to operate more than 2,000 slot machines in exchange for paying the state more money.

For the project, Pauma originally struck a management deal with Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment. But the deal fell through after the company announced it would be sold to Harrah's, which is a partner with the neighboring Rincon tribe. A deal with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino also failed due to disagreements over the terms of the contract, tribal leaders said.

The new partnership announced last year with Foxwoods is expected to produce a 171,000-square-foot casino with about 90,000 square feet of gambling space and up to 2,500 slot machines. The complex would also include a 400-room hotel, a 1,500-seat event center, 2,500-seat outdoor amphitheater, and multiple retail and restaurant facilities.

The Mashantucket Pequots' Foxwoods Development Co. operates Foxwoods casino, one of the largest casinos in the country with 7,100 slot machines and a 1,400-room hotel in eastern Connecticut."

Our reasons for partnering with the Pequots on this project involves more than the fact that they bring with them a spectacularly successful track record," Pauma Chairman Chris Devers said in a statement announcing the project. "The Pequots respect native sovereignty and have a long history of struggle and perseverance, and we can relate to that."

Farther east of Pauma, the La Jolla band unveiled a plan last year to build a 35,000-square-foot casino with 500 slot machines, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and a 150-room hotel. The tribe's Web site describes the first phase of the project as having a casino with 349 slot machines, and subsequent plans include a golf course, expanded casino and other entertainment.

At Santa Ysabel, Chairman Hernandez said the casino is attracting tribal members back to their ancestral home. His tribal government is already working to provide electricity to reservation homes that did not have it before."

This is a springboard for economic development, to get electricity, bring water, build better homes and roads on the reservation," he said.

Contact staff writer Edward Sifuentes at (760) 740-3511 or esifuentes@nctimes.com.

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/01/28/news/top_stories/12707199.txt

You may also want to review these posts:
The Verifiable Truth: Google Earth Maps make it clear why Detroit Casino Syndicators won't settle for anything other than their Barstow location
The Verifiable Truth:
Tribes doing what Los Coyotes Neighbors describe as impossible

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? Forbes.com 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land newsday.com 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire RGTonline.com 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners MichiganDaily.com 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute detnews.com 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller freep.com 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit rgtonline.com 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged freep.com 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer desertdispatch.com 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project LasVegasSun.com 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow signonSanDiego.com 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles detnews.com 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year Michigan.gov 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino detnews.com 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch detnews.com 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests gamblingmagazine.com 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E detnews.com 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy detnews.com 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... crainsdetroit.com 03.17.97

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