Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Allegations that Mayor Dale's letter contributed to Interior's rejection of casino proposals

In a post at the Desert Dispatch, allegations have been made suggesting that an unauthorized letter Barstow's Mayor Lawrence Dale sent to an Interior Department official blasting the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe was one of the contributing factors that resulted in rejection letters sent last week by an official at the Department of Interior to three tribes who had sought to take land in trust in Barstow for the purposes of developing casino resorts.

Dale wrote a letter on Aug. 20 to Clay Gregory, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Sacramento office, accusing the tribe of providing "misinformation" to the bureau and "continued meddling in the City’s affairs." Dale wrote his letter in response to an Aug. 8 letter the Chemehuevi tribe submitted to the federal government regarding the proposal of the Los Coyotes/Big Lagoon tribes to build a casino in Barstow. In that letter, the Chemehuevi accused the two other tribes of lacking ancestral ties to the area and of "reservation shopping."

Gaming Compacts held by two of the tribes backed by Mayor Dale were rejected by the California legislature last Fall and have since expired. With this latest rejection, it seems relatively certain that Mayor Lawrence Dale has failed in his 7-year bid to bring casino gambling to Barstow -- this scheme has been the cornerstone of Dale's plan for Barstow's economic recovery.

Myers posts letter rejecting Los Coyotes tribe's Barstow casino proposal

From a post made 1.07.08 by John Myers of KQED's Capitol Notes:
Another big blow was struck late last week against the embattled plan for tribal gambling in the desert city of Barstow, as federal officials rejected the land applications of two out-of-the area tribes.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Interior rejected requests from both the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians and the Big Lagoon Rancheria to open side by side casinos in Barstow.

The casino plans are contingent on the land being taken into trust by the federal government as Indian land. But in a letter from assistant secretary for Indian affairs Carl Artman, each tribe's proposal was rejected on the grounds that a casino far away from the actual Indian reservation would have a negative impact on the community back home... (Full Post)
Myers has also posted a copy of the letter the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians received from the Department of Interior rejecting the casino resort the tribe had proposed for Barstow in partnersip with Detroit-based casino syndicator BarWest LLC.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Saubel ousted as Los Coyotes chairwoman; new tribal chair has been compensated by Barwest

At a meeting of the Barstow City Council on 1.07.08, BarWest spokesman Tom Shields revealed that Katherine Siva Saubel had been ousted as chair/spokesperson of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians sometime in December 2007.

The new tribal chair/spokesperson is Francine Kuspch. Francine has been the "star" of several moments of political theater staged by BarWest in its quest to win approval to develop casinos in Barstow. Political disclosure documents indicate Barwest has previously compensted Kupsch for some of her "starring" roles.

Controversy erupted last fall when Saubel, then tribal chairwoman, wrote a letter terminating the Los Coyotes tribe's relationship with Barwest and Michael Malik. Saubel's communications referred to Malik as "the devil." Saubel indicated Malik had "seduced" younger members of her tribe.

FLASH: Interior rejects BarWest/Los Coyotes bid to take land in Barstow into trust for casino development

A press release issued by BarWest LLC and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians via PR NewsWire 01.07.08 reveals:

"The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians was shocked when it received a letter from the Department of the Interior (DOI) on Friday, January 4, stating that DOI had completed its evaluation and was rejecting the Tribe's application to takeland into trust in Barstow even though DOI failed to allow the completion of necessary studies..."

The BarWest release goes on to report:

"In dismissing the Los Coyotes application, Interior asserted that the Tribe should build a gaming facility on or near the Los Coyotes reservation..."
The release concludes with:
"The DOI press release and the letter to the Los Coyotes can be viewed at the news room at the barstowcasinosandresort.com."
However, as of this post there is no "news room" on that Web site which was developed and is maintained by BarWest's PR consultant Tom Shields of Marketing Resource Group (Lansing, Michigan).

Press Release: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS137756+07-Jan-2008+PRN20080107

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