Saturday, April 14, 2007

Superior Court Judge orders Detroit casino syndicators to pay ballot measure proponent's $110,000 legal bill

According to Barstow District Superior Court records (Case BCVBS08816), a front group for Detroit casino developer Barwest LLC has been ordered to pay $110,000 in legal fees charged to proponents of a June 2006 ballot measure.

The Barwest backed group Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development (BCRED) had filed suit in 2005/2006 against the City of Barstow, former Mayor Manuel Gurule and others attempting to block a citizens’ qualified ballot measure on future casino development.

After several months and several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees, in early March 2006 Superior Court Judge John P. Vanderfeer tossed out the original Barwest-backed lawsuit and ordered the election to stand.


More than 1,500 Barstow voters had signed petitions to qualify the citizens’ measure for the June 2006 ballot. Barwest feared the measure would open the doors to competition in Barstow and found that unsettling. Barwest's group filed suit in December 2005 to stop the election.

Gurule had lead the petition gathering effort and when Barwest brought suit to stop the election from going forward, Gurule was forced to give-in or find legal representation. Court documents indicate attorneys representing Gurule racked up nearly $150,000 in fees to defend the citizens’ measure and keep it on the ballot.

In January 2007, Gurule filed a motion to recover attorneys’ fees, and on February 15, after hearing arguments from both sides, Judge P. Vanderfeer ordered BCRED (Barwest) to pay $110,000 to the law firm that had stepped in to assist Gurule and defend the citizens’ measure.

In depositions taken as part of the original case, so-called leaders of Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development (BCRED) and the Los Coyotes Indian Tribe revealed BCRED was funded and directed by the team of public relations consultants and lawyers backing Barwest LLC, a Detroit-based casino syndication driven by Mrs. Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr.

After the Judge’s 2006 ruling, Barwest had even greater fears about the outcome of the impending June election; BCRED (Barwest) reported out spending the measure’s proponents by at least 4-to-1, logging close to $200,000 in expenses.

That’s got to be more than was spent on Barstow political campaigns collectively for the last 25 years.

Campaign reporting documents indicate Barwest principals Ilitch and Malik each contributed $20,000, approximately $5,000 was contributed by other sources, most of which were outside of Barstow and no other contributions have been raised since June 2006. Nearly $150,000 was fronted by Ilitch public relations lieutenant Tom Shields, Marketing Resources Group, Inc. (MRG).

Acting as a lendor for the committee, Shields' pr firm paid the TV, radio, direct mail and advertising vendors as well as a group of Los Coyotes tribe members who formed a “grassroots” team. The committee has been showing payments made by Shields to those vendors as outstanding debt for nearly a year. In November 2006 the committee made additional expenses but did not repay Shields.

It’s unclear who wrote the $110,000.00 check that Judge Vanderfeer ordered BCRED to pay.

And it's unclear who if anyone has or will reimburse Shields. Certainly he's not going to "eat" the costs.

When all is said and done, someone has spent at least $500,000 to block the citizens’ ballot measure from being approved. That's probably more than has been spent collectively on Barstow political campaigns since the town was formed in 1888.

Barstow Superior Court: Case #BCVBS08816
Further Background & Court Documents

You may also want to review this post:

Author of Barstow casino bill not hopeful

For the second time since 2005, it appears a bill to approve twin Indian Casino resorts in Barstow has failed to win legislative support in Sacramento.

Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Eureka), principal author of SB 157, has indicated to the Eureka Times Standard that the bill is all but dead.

Eureka Times Standard

Casinos, Klamath, truck lengths, rail revival all on Wiggins' priority list

"...But the fate of another agreement, between the state and the Big Lagoon Rancheria for a casino in Barstow, doesn't look so rosy, at least for the time being, she said. ..."
SB 157 would ratify gaming compacts allowing two Indian tribes (Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians) and their Detroit casino developer Barwest to build side-by-side, off-reservation casino resorts in Barstow, Calif.

Wiggins and project proponents held a press conference in January to announce the introduction of SB 157.

At that time there were two other legislators who had joined Wiggins, Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) and Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa).

Since then, proponents have failed to produce any other legislators willing to publicly endorse the bill. SB 157 was intended as a tool to win legislative ratification of gaming compacts the Governor's aides had negotiated in 2005.

Proponents have failed to produce any other sign that SB 157 had been making progress; instead they have joined with labor to attack compact agreements moving through the legislature for several established gaming tribes. Those compacts would allow expanded gaming at several existing locations on current reservation lands and would produce substantial new revenues for the State of California..

Another bill, SB 168, introduced in 2006 and authored by former Senator Wesley Chesbro, Wiggins' predecessor, failed to make it out of committee as well. Two legislators who supported that bill in the last session have failed to announce their support for SB 157: Assemblyman Bill Maze and Senator Leland Yee.

Mrs. Marian Ilitch, wife of Detroit Tigers baseball team owner Mike Ilitch, and Michael J. Malik, Sr. are the principals behind the Barwest syndication.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Coastal commission exec's casino wager a bluff hoping no one checks his cards

Commission exec says here that Lagoon is 'pristine' and 'untouched natural resource' but it was a former 153-acre bombing target range. DOD, DTSC, USACE, EPA, GAO, all have it on lists of pending environmental clean up; identified as a munitions and explosive hazzard. This trained attorney certainly knows what the words he chose mean; he lied.

read more digg story

It's not the biggest or the closest but Santa Ysabel Casino opens

Best Online Casinos

Santa Ysabel Casino Opens

It's not the biggest and it's not the closest, but the Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino, which opens to the public today, has an enviable view of Lake Henshaw and the surrounding mountains.

Tribal leaders said Wednesday they hope the scenic beauty of the remote, northeastern part of the county will attract visitors to generate enough revenue to help the band's 700 members climb out of poverty.

'It's been a long, long time to get to this point,' said Ron Christman, a member of the tribe. 'It goes to show how far we've come.' (Full Story)

A neighboring tribe's leaders (Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians) have been singing a different tune in Sacramento:

Sacramento Bee
Catherine "Saubel, who contends her tribe's remote, mountainous land in San Diego County is unsuitable for a casino."

Paid Advertorial in California Chronicle
"The Tribe's ancestral lands are nestled in the rural mountains of San Diego County. Due to its remote and mountainous nature, there is still little development on the reservation"

North County Times
"Tribal leaders believed in 1999, when most other tribes struck deals with Gov. Gray Davis, that their reservation was far too remote to build a profitable casino"

But consider that Santa Ysabel joins four other casinos within 15 miles of the Los Coyotes Reservation facing some of the same challenges with geography, infrastructure and the like:
North County Times

...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...

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...

Coastal Commission exec calls Lagoon "untouched natural resource," unaware the former bombing target range is on USACE/DTSC toxic clean up lists

DTSC Official: EnviroStor Database Listing





























FROM THE CORPS PUBLIC GIS SYSTEM: Property Description - The 153.03-acre site is located in Humboldt County, Big Lagoon, California, near the Big Lagoon Indian Reservation. The property is currently part of the Dry Lagoon State Park and is adjacent to the Big Lagoon County Park. During the 1920s and 1930s, cabins were built at the south end of the lagoon and the area was a popular destination for weekend and summer travelers. Many of the old cabins still exist alongside newer houses, several of which appear to be inhabited year round. The area remains a popular destination for camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and beach combing. Property on the southeastern side of the lagoon is part of the Big Lagoon Rancheria, inhabited by the Yurok and Tolowa tribes.

Property History - The Big Lagoon Range consists of land that was acquired by leasehold condemnation on 13 June 1944. The mission of this site was the installation of rocket targets for the training of Fleet Air Squadrons from NAAS Arcata. Due to existing hazardous conditions, the Fleet Air Training Detachment withdrew from the Station on 1 July 1945, stripping its targets and removing all squadrons, Fleet personnel and equipment. The lease was terminated on 14 April 1946. After this, the site was divided among the state of California and Humboldt County. This property is known or suspected to contain military munitions and explosives of concern (e.g., unexploded ordnance) and therefore may present an explosive hazard.

So-called 'Pristine' Big Lagoon on DoD/DTSC Clean Up List

As it turns out the area in Humboldt County that Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission called “pristine” and “untouched” in an essay he wrote for Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle was once part of a 156-acre bombing and rocket target range. Perhaps Douglas meant “untouched” since it was abandoned by the Defense Department as a bombing range.

Both the Big Lagoon and the Big Lagoon Rancheria Indian Reservation have been on the Defense Department’s list of pending Defense Department/Army Corps & California State Department of Toxic Substance Control’s pending clean up lists for at least a decade.

The Defense Department in its last report to Congress estimated it would take $7.2 million to complete clean up of the Big Lagoon identified sites.

Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS)

California Inventory List

DOD - Defense Environmental Programs Annual Report to Congress

Military Munitions Response Program

Calif Department of Toxic Substance Control































Another tribe accomplishes what Marian Ilitch's Team (Barwest) says is 'impossible'

For months the Los Coyotes Band of Indians and the crew working for its billionaire Detroit developer Marian Ilitch (Barwest) have been trolling the State Capitol, trying to convince legislators in Sacramento that it would be “impossible” to build a casino on their San Diego Reservation; at the same time, the Santa Ysabel Tribe (Los Coyotes’ neighbor) has been hard at work proving it can be done!

This week the Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino celebrated its grand opening. The $27 million, 35,000-square-foot project has 349 slot machines and was financed with a bank loan guaranteed by the Yavapai-Apache Nation of Arizona.

The Santa Ysabel reservation is located less than 10 miles from the Los Coyotes Reservation (nearly the same drive time from Los Angeles).

hhhmmmmm …Perhaps what Los Coyotes’ leaders and Barwest representatives mean to say is they prefer the financial model associated with their plans to build two side by side full-blown Las Vegas like “off-reservation” casino resorts, and the opportunity to develop a broader destination resort community surrounding the casinos in Barstow – alongside I-15 highway halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. news summary


Santa Ysabel casino opens


SANTA YSABEL INDIAN RESERVATION -- It's not the biggest and it's not the closest, but the Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino, which opens to the public today, has an enviable view of Lake Henshaw and the surrounding mountains.

Tribal leaders said Wednesday they hope the scenic beauty of the remote, northeastern part of the county will attract visitors to generate enough revenue to help the band's 700 members climb out of poverty...

Vice Chairwoman Brandie Taylor said the casino will help create opportunities for her young son and everyone in the tribe.

"This is an avenue not only for him, but all the members of the tribe to have an education, to have infrastructure, electricity -- to have a future," she told a cheering crowd.

The facility, designed to look like a mountain lodge, has a 150-seat buffet restaurant, an entertainment stage and brewery-style bar...

For years, the Santa Ysabel band, near Julian, watched other North County tribes build mega-casinos with large hotels and luxury resorts. It passed on an opportunity to sign an agreement, or compact, with the state in 1999 to allow gambling on its 15,000-acre reservation.

Four years ago, several new tribal council members who favored building a casino were elected. They negotiated one of the last compacts under Gov. Gray Davis. The agreement included more stringent requirements...

Santa Ysabel Chairman Johnny Hernandez, 54, said opening the casino will help build better roads on the reservation, provide health care for members, education for children and a center for seniors.

"We just got open and now we got to pay our bills," he said. "But we've got to take care of our tribal community."

Full Coverage)

Impoverished Northeastern San Diego Tribe proves it can be done; celebrates opening of County's newest casino resort

Tribe has party to welcome county's 10th Indian casino

By Onell R. Soto

April 12, 2007

SANTA YSABEL – San Diego County's 10th Indian casino opened last night with a private party for more than 1,000 people.

This is your casino,” Brandie Taylor, the Santa Ysabel tribe's vice chairwoman, proclaimed to tribal members in the crowd. “This is your future.”

The crowd, standing shoulder to shoulder amid silent slot machines, cheered loudly.

Later, after the first slot pull at 5:51 p.m., the sounds of electronic music from the machines mixed with the voices and rattles of traditional Indian singers.

The 349-slot Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino, on state Route 79 about 4½ miles north of Route 78, opened to the general public at 9 p.m., after the party.

It will be some time before the casino sells alcohol.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is waiting for the casino to meet several county conditions, specifically some road improvements, said Robin Van Dyke, head of the San Marcos ABC office.

We are not issuing the license until that is done,” she said.

County officials say they are waiting for word that the tribe has implemented an alcohol training program for its workers; will serve food; has a designated-driver program; and sponsors a shuttle to public transit.

Adding turn lanes to Route 79 and moving the entrance to the facility's mile-long driveway will take eight to 10 weeks, said casino General Manager Douglas Lentz.

The tribe is working with the state on getting the license, Lentz said, and he expected it to be issued over some of the county's objections.

The $27 million casino on the side of Volcan Mountain overlooking Lake Henshaw was funded through a bank loan guaranteed by Arizona's Yavapai-Apache Nation, whose leaders were at yesterday's ceremony.

The 35,000-square-foot casino will fund the tribal government and provide for direct payments to Santa Ysabel's members.

Tribal Chairman Johnny Hernandez has said the money won't make tribal members rich, but will provide more opportunities. Several tribal members are now working for the casino.

There was really nothing here when I was growing up,” said tribal member Bettina Paipa, 33, who will serve drinks.

About 350 of the diverse tribe's 781 members live on the 15,000-acre reservation.

Under a 2003 agreement with the state, the tribe will give 5 percent of its slot-machine revenue to the state, plus make payments to the county for problem-gambling programs and law enforcement.

Tribal Council member Bonnie Salgado said the casino opening ranked as one of the tribe's milestones, along with an 1852 treaty that was later ignored and the creation of the reservation in 1893.

After today, nothing will be the same,” she said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Los Coyotes supports San Manuel pact now; Unions still oppose Pechanga

Pact on Pechanga casinos fails to win over unions

10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO - Labor unions Wednesday attacked a renegotiated gaming agreement with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians near Temecula, alleging that the deal, known as a compact, lacks protections for casino workers.

A short while later, though, union leaders urged support for a nearly identical compact with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians near Highland.

The distinction -- the San Manuel tribe has a union agreement with hundreds of its employees while Pechanga does not -- underscored a second day of intense testimony in a Senate committee hearing on compacts negotiated last summer between Gov. Schwarzenegger and five wealthy gaming tribes, four of them in Riverside or San Bernardino counties.

It also could determine which agreements the Legislature ratifies. The full Senate could consider the deals as early as next week.

Under the compacts, participating Inland tribes could add up to 19,500 slot machines in return for the tribes paying more money to the state.

Wednesday, Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro said the agreement with his tribe would help the local economy and generate an extra $14 million for the state annually before slot machine are even installed.

The tribe plans to add 1,500 slot machines within five years, he said. The compact allows the tribe to have up to 7,500 slots.

Macarro said the tribe will not be pressured into accepting parts of 2004 compacts that made it easier to unionize casino workers, even if means giving up a chance for more slot machines.

"Every tribe is uniquely situated. San Manuel went a different direction than we did," he said. "At any point in time, we've never felt like we were holding onto an agreement so tight that we couldn't walk away. There are just certain lines that we won't cross."

San Manuel's compact drew much less opposition Wednesday.

The tribe's vice chairman, Vince Duro, said it is ready to install many of the additional 5,500 slot machines allowed under the deal.

"San Manuel is not a problem," said Michael Hartigan, the state president of the workers union that represents San Manuel employees

Leaders of a San Diego County tribe trying to build a casino in Barstow testified in favor of the San Manuel deal. But they used the opportunity to urge the Legislature to ratify their own gaming agreement, something opposed by the San Manuel and other Inland tribes.

"The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting the shaft," said Francine Cupsch, secretary of the tribal council of the Los Coyotes band.

Reach Jim Miller at 916-445-9973 or

Sacramento: Union leaders and Senators wrap up second day of skirmsh over tribal gaming compacts

April 11, 2007

Senators press union leader on change of tune on tribal organizing

Debra Gruszecki
The Desert Sun

SACRAMENTO -- The skirmish with labor unions continued today in the second wave of hearings on tribal gaming compacts before a state Senate committee.

Unite HERE! Leader Jack Gribbon repeated his request to halt any action on ratification of the compact amendments, which would allow up to 22,500 more slots in tribal casinos across the state.

That increase includes more than 8,000 new slots in the Coachella Valley -- at casinos owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Agua Caliente and Morongo leaders testified Tuesday.

The leader of the 450,000-member union representing hotel, casino and needle-workers, said “We ask you to support the most vulnerable people in the state,” this morning in the hearing on the request to add slots for Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and San Manuel Band of Missions Indians.

The compacts did not pass in 2006 – following last-minute labor opposition and lobbying.

This time, however, in the stand-room-only hearing room, today state Sens. Jim Battin R-La Quinta and Jeff Denham R-Merced grilled union leaders on the differences between the Tribal Labor Relations Ordinance struck in 1999, which allows workers to organize through a secret ballot systems. The Tribal Labor Relations Ordinance is in effect at local casinos as part of the compacts approved in 1999.

Unite HERE! wants a “card check” system, allowing organizers to approach workers if they sign a card.

Tribes say that the secret ballot method that is part of the 1999 compacts allows workers to organize if they want.

Battin led a news account from the 1999 Los Angeles Times coverage of the tribal compact approval. The article said that Gribbon supported the secret ballot, or Tribal Labor Relations Ordinance passed then.

“What's changed?" Battin asked.

Gribbon was quoted in the LA Times at the passage of the 1999 compacts as saying, "It's finished. It's's a significant compromise with labor."

An observer watching the proceedings today in the overflow crowd uttered "Ouch!" when closed circuit TV broadcast that portion of the hearing to the hallway.

Gribbon said the secret ballot matters were discussed clear through 4 a.m. in 1999 and that then-Senate Pro Tem John Burton D-San Francisco and then-Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa D-Los Angeles, both noted for their strong support of labor, approached and said it was the best they could do.

Gribbon told today’s hearing that he was advised at the time to support Proposition 1A for workers’ rights because it was the best they could do.

Unfortunately (since that time), Gribbon said today, some tribes have not shown good faith.

Battin and Denham both said they are hard-pressed to find cases where tribes have shut organization cases out.

The hearings and lobbying will continue throughout the day in Sacramento on the issue that has attracted supporters and detractors ranging from labor unions to business groups to social organizations and tribal nations.

Some time after noon today, petitions bearing more than 12,000 signatures are expected to be presented to the governor's office asking for no more slot expansion.

Detroit casino syndicators continue to convince local newspaper that things are going well in Sacramento

Casino Boosters Seek 'Voice' in Sacramento: Big Lagoon, Los Coyotes Representatives Push for Hearing on Compacts

From: The Desert Dispatch (Barstow, Calif.) Date: 4/11/2007

Representatives for the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band lobbied the state Senate in Sacramento on Tuesday and today will continue to push for the Senate to schedule hearings concerning the proposed joint casino project in Barstow. They will likely return next week.

On Tuesday the governmental organization committee held informational hearings concerning state gaming compacts with the Yurok tribe, the Agua Caliente band and the Morongo band.

Hearings about compacts with the Pechanga band, the San Manuel band and the Sycuan band will take place today.

Big Lagoon spokesman Jason Barnett said this is the "last shot" as Aug. 31 approaches. The compacts for the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon, which the governor has approved, would be void if not approved by that deadline.

Los Coyotes spokesman Tom Shields said he wants to get the process going because it will be a long process with no quick solutions.

Barnett said the tribes pursuing the Barstow project will take every opportunity to let the Legislature know that people in Barstow support the project.

"The leadership in the Senate only seems to want to give a voice to the big tribes," Barnett said. "What we want is the same opportunity to be heard that they're having." However, he said, at one-on-one meetings with individual senators, the reception "continues to be very positive."

He said people are moved by the stories of the Big Lagoon, which cannot build on its reservation because of environmental issues, and the Los Coyotes, which he described as one of the state's poorest tribes. "We're optimistic," he said. "We hope the senators will give us that voice."

The Big Lagoon would prefer to build on their own land, Barnett said, but "out of respect" for the state are willing to look elsewhere because the reservation is an "environmentally sensitive habitat area." Environmental agencies oppose a casino there, he said.

The Big Lagoon have taken the issue to court with the claim the state negotiated in bad faith. The lawsuit is on hold until August, Barnett said.

Shields said that in addition to meeting with senators, supporters of the project are testifying at the informational hearings for the other compacts.

Labor union representatives were among those testifying in favor of the project, he said, and wealthy gaming tribes are leading opposition. He named the Agua Caliente, the Morongo and the San Manuel specifically as opposition leaders.

Jacob Coin, the director of public affairs for the San Manuel band, said that the group is a Serrano Indian Nation clan. The proposed Big Lagoon/Los Coyotes project, he said, would be an encroachment of the Serranos' ancestral homeland.

Morongo spokeswoman Waltona Manion said that the band's opposition to the Barstow project is because voters supported the principle that gaming should remain only on reservations in approving Proposition 5 in 1998 and Proposition 1A in 2000. "Their stance is based on a promise that they made to California voters," she said.

Shields, however, said that Propositions 5 and 1A included provisions for off-reservation gaming. He said members of the Los Coyotes feel that other tribes used them in the ad campaign for those measures by depicting their poverty to convince people of the need for gaming income. "They were the face of the Native Americans," he said.

Mayor Lawrence Dale said he's "upbeat" about prospects for the casino project. "I think we'll get through the Legislature this year," he said.

CA Coastal Commission Chief’s mischaracterization irresponsible; suggests closer scrutiny in future

Either Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, is full of bologna or perhaps like we suspected of Andrea Hoch, Governor Schwarzenegger’s legal affairs secretary, he has naively fallen prey to the overstated rhetoric ghost written for him by Detroit casino syndicators.

In an op-ed bylined by Douglas and published in the San Francisco Chronicle this past Sunday, April 8, 2007; the Coastal Commission’s administrative chief writes:

"...on the pristine shores of Big Lagoon in Humboldt County"

"…unique unspoiled natural treasure…"

But then Douglas seems to contradict himself when he writes in the brief essay that annually “60,000 visitors come to the area [Humboldt Lagoons State Park] for recreation and relief from pressures of urban living.”

How is it 60,000 people can come and go and yet leave the Big Lagoon pristine and unspoiled? Those words imply something much different.

Webster's defines "pristine" as follows:

1 : belonging to the earliest period or state : ORIGINAL;the hypothetical pristine lunar atmosphere;

2 : not spoiled, corrupted, or polluted (as by civilization) : PURE;a pristine forest; b : fresh and clean as or as if new

Conservation, protection and restoration activities in the region have been at play for decades. Certainly Douglas knows that. Save The Redwoods League raises money for such efforts and for acquisitions because it indicates there are already a number of threats and challenges impacting the Humboldt Lagoons State Park:

· Contamination and pollution including chemical spills along highway, septic system failures, former Louisiana-Pacific mill site, and use of 2-stroke engines and MTBE-laced fuel in water craft.

· Enforcing water speed limit on for motorized vehicles to minimize noise pollution and accidents.

· Upstream erosion and sedimentation in streams draining to lagoons, and associated flooding in the Redwood Trails area.

For Peter Douglas to say the Big Lagoon and surrounds are “pristine” and “untouched” was nothing short of irresponsible – and either ignorant or intentionally manipulative.

You may want to read these additional posts:

Mike Malik's Lucky 7 could require special zoning for Harsens Island proposal


HARSENS ISLAND - Developers proposing a $170 million, 380-acre housing development may need special approval to build condominiums on North Channel Road.

Grande Pointe Development, LLC, which is managed by former Clay Township resident and casino investor Michael Malik, applied March 30 for a permit to build "cluster housing" on the former Boys & Girls Club property. Cluster housing groups several residential units together and leaves large open spaces between groups of units.

The former Boys & Girls Club land has two types of zoning - suburban and high density. Officials still are trying to determine how cluster housing fits into both zoning classifications. If the development company's plans don't fit within zoning regulations, Grande Pointe will need special approval to move forward, said Jon Manos, Clay Township Supervisor.

Because Grande Pointe owns all of the former Boys & Girls Club property but plans to develop only some of it, township officials still are determining how much the company will pay in review fees. The review process will not begin until the fees are paid, Manos said.

Dorothy DeBoyer, chairwoman of the township planning commission, said the permit will be reviewed by the township's building and zoning administrator. The request then will be forwarded to the township's planner, Community Planning and Management in Clinton Township; the township planning commission; and finally to the township board.

The request isn't expected to reach the planning commission until May. The township board will have final say on whether the permit is granted.

It will likely be a very long process," DeBoyer said.

When Grande Pointe's request is reviewed by the planning commission, the board will review the entire development proposal, including determining the project's impact on island traffic and what kind of buildings will be built.

Project plans call for the development to include a manmade canal and lagoon. The development would require rerouting North Channel Road, adding three to five minutes of drive time for some residents traveling to Champion's Auto Ferry, islanders' only access to the mainland.

Rerouting the road must be approved by the St. Clair County Road Commission.

Officials with the development company did not return phone messages. Grande Pointe's spokesman has said developers would like to break ground on the project in the spring of 2008.When members of the township planning commission review the project, they will base their decision on township and state requirements.

"It's all reviewed on the basis of the law," DeBoyer said. "Does it meet requirements (or) not meet requirements?"

See all stories on this topic

JPA bill back as Sacramento eyes ties between Tribes & local governments

AB 169 (Levine) bill backed by SCAG to give tribes a greater role in local & regional government, plus form JPAs with agencies, is moving through Sacramento. It's a reprise of legislation that sailed through the Legislature last year-- 33-1 in the Senate and 74-2 in the Assembly--but at urging of suspcious aides, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed.

read more | digg story

BLOGGER: Advocate for Truth in the Santa Ynez Valley

Today (04.10.07) we stumbled upon blogger rlm who's hosting a new blog, Advocate for Truth in the Santa Ynez Valley, dedicate to provding factual information and promoting meaningful communication on Indian gaming matters and specifically, plans by the Chumash Indians casino expansion in Santa Barbara County, CA.

Let The Games Begin! (or end ? )
Spring break is over and the legislature is back to work and now the battles begin. My belief is that the success or failure of the many bills in the legislature this year pertaining to tribal gaming, which includes ratifying the amended compacts signed by the governor last year,
will set the pace for tribal expansions for years to come. The Chumash, I am sure, are watching what unfolds this year and any interested parties should also keep an eye on these proceedings.

Fight for Barstow casinos renews


Big Lagoon, Los Coyotes tribes are looking for help in Sacramento

Joe Nelson, Staff WriterSan Bernardino County Sun

The battle for Barstow and the billions it could mean for casino operators lucky enough to get in on the action opened a new season in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Two of the tribal contenders, Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians, rallied to be heard as state Senate hearings on an unrelated tribal gaming issues got under way.

Absent from view were the Chemehuevis, whose reservation is located on the Colorado River in San Bernardino County. That tribe also wants to build a casino in Barstow.

Tuesday's hearing was a renegotiation of gaming compacts for six California Indian tribes, including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino adjacent to San Bernardino and Highland.

In September 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved gaming compacts for the Los Coyotes of San Diego County and Big Lagoon of Humboldt County. The compacts authorized each tribe to build its own casino in Barstow. But there are a number of hurdles to be cleared before ground can be broken. First, the compacts must be ratified by the Legislature.

Barstow, which supports the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon plan, estimates the casinos could generate 3,700 new jobs and $6million a year in city revenue.

"We're asking the Senate look at the off-reservation gaming compacts at the same time they're evaluating the on-reservation gaming compacts," city spokesman John Rader said Tuesday.

But the effort to build the casinos in Barstow has met opposition from some tribes, including the San Manuels, who argue the two tribes would be encroaching on Serrano ancestral lands.

"Ancestral history is not a requirement to get approval for a casino project," said Jason Barnett, a spokesman for the Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe. "What it comes down to is there's a question of competition and whether they (the San Manuels) feel this would be a threat to the competition and to their tribe."

But San Manuel tribal spokesman Jacob Coin said competition is not the issue. The tribe does not oppose similar efforts by the Chemehuevis to open a casino in Barstow because the Barstow area would be considered ancestral land to the tribe.

Another problem, Coin said, is that more than a dozen Indian tribes in California are pushing to build casinos off their reservations, maneuvers he said go against what gaming tribes promised during their campaigns for Proposition 5 and 1A - that casinos would be built solely on reservation land.

"It's a huge issue in California," Coin said, adding that there are 69 applications on file with the Department of the Interior to build casinos off reservations.

Officials representing the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon tribes hope the state Senate gives them equal time.

"Our feeling is while we respect these other tribes' rights to expand and amend their compacts . . . all we're asking for is the same opportunities that they've enjoyed," Barnett said.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Even without Casino, Humboldt Tribe’s Standard of Living is four times greater than most California families

Life is often about trade-offs. But few have these kinds of advantages.

Million Dollar Trust Funds

The family that makes up the small Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe (24 members) in Humboldt County gets $1,100,000.00 annually, tax free, from trust funds pro­vided by California’s established gaming tribes – no expectations, no strings at­tached.

Virgil Moorehead, family patriarch, and those behind his $168,000,000 casino plans for Barstow (750 miles away) characterize the gaming tribes as “greedy;” even though he gets more than $45,000.00 per year for each adult member of his tribe from those other tribes.

Wouldn’t you like to get $45,000 per year for each adult member of your extended family, free and clear, without any expectations?

Million Dollar Historic Hotel & Sports Club

Outside of the trust funds the Big Lagoon Indians get from other tribes, the Moorehead clan has wisely taken advantage of grant programs and other opportunities to establish commercial ventures in Hum-boldt County.

Among those businesses, they own and manage the historic Hotel Arcata, reportedly generating $925,000.00 per year with an assessed value at $1,066,629.00; and they have announced plans for a commercial gym and fit­ness facility. The tribe has recently reported its intent to purchase 16 more acres of prime coastal property adjacent to its 20-acre reservation.

Given those circumstances, the Rancheria family’s combined annual revenues are certainly well over $2,000,000.00; a significant percentage (the $1.1 million trust funds) tax free and no property taxes on their 20-acre prime coastal reservation lands.

The median household income in California is $48,000.00 per year, before taxes; nationally it’s $43,000.00. The Census Bureau indicates the poverty level is $16,000.00 per year for similar sized households.

$192,000 Household Incomes

Following the Census Bureau’s household model, if there were ten similar “households” on the Rancheria (and according to actual Census records there are), their equivalent average household incomes would have to be $192,500.00, before taxes; that’s more than four times greater than the average California family and twelve times greater than the national poverty level.

And on top of that, the Moorhead clan is blessed to make their homes near one an­other, on 20-acres perched on the beautiful Big Lagoon shoreline and within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean – their oppor­tunity: nearly priceless, given most equiva­lent properties along the California coastline have already been subdivided by private in­terests or taken into public trust.

Billionaire Casino Partners

Now consider this, Forbes Magazine estimates the Detroit Family (Mike & Marian Ilitch and their seven children) bankrolling the Big Lagoon Rancheria’s casino plans are worth $1.5 billion, own multiple homes, sports teams, private planes and more.

Who’s “Poor;” and who’s “greedy?”

Moorehead and operatives for his Detroit casino syndicators characterize the Big Lagoon Rancheria as “poor” and without opportunity. They say, the other tribes are “greedy.”

You be the judge.

Verifiable Truth: The Big Lagoon Rancheria purchases 16 acres? So they say ... Really? or just another veiled threat, attempt create leverage for negotiating advantage

Monday, April 09, 2007

Big Lagoon Bombing Target

Former military target range at Big Lagoon State Park presents explosive hazards

A 153-acre site located adjacent to Big Lagoon, near the Big Lagoon Rancheria. Property is currently part of Dry Lagoon State Park. Acquired by leasehold condemnation June 13, 1944. Used for rocket target practice. Abandoned July 1, 1945 due to hazardous conditions. Property known or suspected to contain military munitions and explosives HAZARDS.

read more digg story

You may also want to review these posts:

Verifiable Truth: The Big Lagoon Rancheria purchases 16 acres? So they say ... Really? or just another veiled threat, attempt create leverage for negotiating advantage California tribes push for approval of compacts

as posted 04.08.07 at :

Five California tribes are headed to the Legislature this week to seek approval of their new gaming compacts.

The deals would allow the already successful tribes to add as many as 22,000 new slot machines and expand their facilities. In exchange, the state could see up to $500 million in revenue a year.

The Senate is expected to easily approve the agreements, according to The Los Angeles Times. But Assembly Members are concerned about the lack of provisions affecting labor unions and independent audits.

The tribes are the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Get the Story:
Valley's casinos go all in (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 4/9)
Tribal gaming accords on the table (The Los Angeles Times 4/8)
Username:, Password: indianzcom
Casinos lobby for more slots (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 4/8)
Gaming talks set to begin (The San Bernardino Sun 4/8) -- recent stories on Indian Gaming in California

Harsens Island developer has a history of fighting environmental concerns

Real Estate Attorney/Developer Timothy Stoepker is tied to several high profile Detroit area environmental appeals that have raised questions about jurisdiction; appeals that have been denied by a regional office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In the Carabell matter he argued an appeal in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court instructed a lower court to revisit the matter. Perhaps this is why Malik has brought Stoepker into his latest Harsens Isand development scheme.

In the Harsens Island case it seems Malik is already trying to block compliance under the Federal Rivers & Harbors Act and likely also the Clean Water Act even though his plans require drilling a waste water sewage pipeline along the bottom of the St. Clair River.



Processing #

Type of Appeal

Date Completed



Lucky 7 Development LLC



Jurisdictional Determination


No Merit





Permit Denial


No Merit

Also see:
"Supreme Court ruling creates problems in protecting water quality" (Audobon Society)
"Clean Water Act reach limited: U.S. Supreme Court overview" (Bloomberg News)
"Top court split over wetlands protections" (Forbes)
"Clean Water Act needs redefinition, justices rule" (International Herald-Tribune)
" Court upholds judgment against NYC for polluting trout stream" (Newsday)
"Dickinson Wright attorney Tim Stoepker argues wetlands case before U.S. Supreme Court"
"Pennsylvania, coalition of states challenge federal mercury rule"

Casino Syndicator Michael Malik directly controls these 4 D.C. lobbyist employers

MJM Enterprises & Development n Gateway Casino Resorts n Blue Water Resorts n Barwest

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, federal lobbying activity for 4 affiliates (noted below) directly controlled by Detroit casino syndicator Michael Malik near $1.3 million; and at least two of the four are in partnership with fellow syndicator Marian Ilitch.

Just as Jack Abramoff had instructed his tribal partners to front thousands in lobbying and political activity, those tribes with whom Malik has partnership agreements have also made heavy investments, more than $1.85 million in lobbying. In other lobbying circumstances, while it appears the tribes might be paying their own lobbying expenses, they are simply fronting for Malik who is actually .

MJM Enterprises & Development -- $520,000 total

Gateway Casino Resorts -- $420,000 total

(Casino in Southampton, NY)

Blue Water Resorts -- $250,000 total

(Casino in Port Huron, MI)

Barwest -- $80,000 total

(Casinos in Barstow, CA)

charts compliments of the Center for Responsive Politics

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TVT, founded in December 2006, has averaged more than 20,000 visitors annually. It is produced with the support of scores of individuals from coast-to-coast, each a volunteer citizen activist/jounalist, who review tips and compile the verifiable details and documents that are the hallmark of our content.

Since our first post, more than 178,000 visitors have accessed the details compiled uniquely at TVT.

The citizen activists behind TVT wish to extened a big "THANK YOU" to all those who have provided "tips" -- contributed pictures, documents, link suggestions, leads, reports, insight and comments. Your trust and confidence in TVT has allowed us to create a comprehensive resource that thousands of others -- including bloggers, journalists, Members of Congress and other local citizen activists around the country -- have come to rely upon.

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NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

NEWS: Shinnecock Indian Nation (Gateway Casino Resorts) Casino Proposals

NY Times: Shinnecock Indian Nation

NEWS: Los Coyotes Indian Tribe

NEWS: Los Coyotes / Barwest Barstow Casino Proposals

NEWS: Michael J. Malik, Sr.

NEWS: Marian Ilitch Mapping Social Networks

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 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 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 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 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 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 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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