...The lawsuit comes amid renewed efforts by the tribe to build a $160 million casino in Barstow, halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The project, which has been in the works for nearly a decade, appeared to be dead three years ago. That is when the federal government denied an application to take a plot of land in Barstow into trust, which would make it part of the tribe's reservation, in order to build the casino.
Last year, the project got a second wind when the U.S. Department of Interior allowed an appeal to proceed.
To get the land transfer, Los Coyotes must prove, in part, that its reservation is unsuitable for business purposes. Critics of the casino project say the Eagle Rock lease agreement makes that argument less believable.
According to the lawsuit, Eagle Rock agreed to pay the tribe 10 percent of its profits, and build a new tribal hall and a children's playground, among other things.
Overall, the company has spent about $450,000 on rent payments and improvements to the children's park and training facilities, according to court documents.
Eagle Rock is asking the court to declare the lease agreement valid and to award the company compensatory damages, but does not give a specific amount.
In January, the tribe's leadership changed. Kupsch was replaced by Chairman Shane Chapparosa.
Radoff said there may have been a change in the tribe's plans when the new chairman came into office, but he declined to discuss "internal tribal deliberations."
Eagle Rock officials say they believed the tribe had approved the lease because the company had not been told otherwise, according to the lawsuit. Representatives of the company attended a tribal council meeting in January to discuss the children's park and gave members of the tribal council tours of the leased property in March... (Complete Story)
It is alleged the Los Coyotes pair, Ortiz and Durbin, broke into the Eagle Rock Training Center (ERTC), disassembled surveillance cameras and then torched the guard shack at ERTC.
Torching 22 square miles... that's one way to validate claims that your reservation is uninhabitable or otherwise offers no natural resources of any value. On the other hand, Barstow officials ought to be concerned about Los Coyotes' approach to dispute resolution!