A bitter dispute between the Los Coyotes Band of Mission Indians in Warner Springs and a company that operates a military training facility on the North County reservation has spilled into court.For nearly a decade, Detroit casino syndicators (Michael Malik & Marian Ilitch) have been using the Los Coyotes tribe, and others, to front an opportunity that could allow the Detroiters to build and manage a $160 million casino in Barstow (CA). In part, approvals for such a venture hinge on the ability of the tribe to prove the Los Coyotes Reservation in Warner Springs (CA) is unsuitable for business purposes.
The Eagle Rock Training Center, which leased land on the reservation for the training facility that also serves as a set for Hollywood film crews, filed a lawsuit Sept. 15 after the tribe attempted to evict the business, according to documents filed in federal court.
The training center operators claim the tribe is trying to renege on their 25-year lease agreement.
Officials with the training center also allege that the dispute contributed to a hostile environment that led to the burning of a guard shack on July 21. The fire burned about 22 square miles of wildland before firefighters were able to stop it. [Eagle Fire]
Two tribal members, Jeremy Ortiz, 23, and Jesse Durbin, 23, were charged in August with setting the fire. Both men pleaded not guilty.
After the tribe gave the training center an eviction notice June 16, Eagle Rock officials said in court documents that they attempted to negotiate with the tribe to clarify the lease agreement. But tribal officials "failed to negotiate in good faith," according to the lawsuit.
"Members of Los Coyotes even threatened to take matters into their own hands if ERTC did not vacate the property -- tragically, such threats came to fruition when the tribe allowed certain tribal members to take matters into their own hands by pouring gasoline on ERTC's security booth and lighting it on fire, and destroying new surveillance cameras that were installed after the fire," according to court documents... (Complete Story)
When the Detroiters woke up to realize Francine Kupsch had signed the deal with Eagle Rock which agreed to pay the tribe 10 percent of its profits, plus build a new tribal hall and a children's playground, among other things, they could not have been too happy. After all, they claim to have spent millions already attempting to protect their exclusive rights to a Barstow casino franchise.
According to court documents, Eagle Rock had spent about $450,000 paying Los Coyotes rent payments and improvements to the children's park and training facilities, according to court documents. Adding value to the deal between Los Coyotes and Eagle Rock was the fact that ERTC was also being used as a set for Hollywood film crews.
The last time these tribal leaders had a major dispute and were attempting to evict people from their Reservation (2000), they took up firearms and the San Diego County Sheriff had to get involved. (Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute; San Diego Union-Tribune; April 9, 2000)
And did we mention that once again, Detroit was named the #1 Most Dangerous City in America?
You might also want to see: Los Coyotes tribal leader calls Barwest's Mike Malik "devil;" says he has "seduced" younger tribal leaders.