Saturday, October 22, 2011

Group Backing Detroiters' Push for Casino Gambling in Hawaii Establishes YouTube Channel

Citizens for a Better Way | YouTube
So-called "Citizens for a Better Way," a third-party advocacy group manufactured to support Detroit gambling interests and their agenda to legalize commercial gaming and develop a casino in Honolulu, HI, has established a YouTube channel with videos featuring long-time Hawaii-based advocates for the Detroiters (Marian Ilitch, Michael Malik, etc.).

After one month, the number of views of the channel and its videos are minimal and most likely a result of visits by those who established the channel and uploaded the videos.

Bay Mills President Parker in Nov 2 General Election Run-Off; He's Controlled the Tribe for 20 Years

A Primary Election at the Bay Mills Indian Community was held Oct. 19. The following results have been announced and those in bold are headed to the General Election run-off Nov. 2:
Executive Council PresidentJeff Parker* (208), Kurt Perron (189), Terry Carrick (94)

Vice PresidentJoseph LeBlanc  (181), Allyn Cameron (189), Corrine Cameron (119)

Secretary: Richard LeBlanc* (225), Sherri Schofield (118), Greg Parker (147)

TreasurerJohn P. Lufkins* (252), Diane Teeple (126), Paula Carrick (110)

CouncilpersonDwight "Bucko" Teeple* (196), Jason A. LeBlanc, Sr. (70), Alexander Easton (144), Brenda Bjork (82)

Chief JudgeShelly Deuman* (114), Leah M. Parish (84), Arthur J. LeBlanc (26), Levi D. Carrick, Sr. (226), Robert Passage (46)

Appellate Judge: Lynda Parrish-Pesola (172), Tim Kinney II (90), Randy Touchtone (116), Shannon Belk (281), Justin Teeple (214)

* incumbent

Terry Carrick,current Vice President, had challenged incumbent President Jeff Parker in the primary.

Further General Election details (early balloting requests, etc.) are available via Bay Mills News.

Jeffrey Parker: 20 year Grip on Bay Mills Council
Jeff Parker was first elected President of the Bay Mills Executive Council in 1989.  In 2001 he was defeated by L. John Lufkins but Parker won back the seat and has held onto the President’s office since 2003.  Parker and Malik had their grip on the Bay Mills Indian Community for 20 of the last 22 years!  Having Parker as president of the Council and Tribal Chair is critical to the business schemes of controversial Detroit Wheeler-Dealer Michael Malik.

For nearly two decades Mike Malik has been in cahoots with Parker, using Parker to front for his taxpayer funded schemes.  

It’s really Malik and his non-Native American cronies who have been spearheading and financing the decades long quest to establish a Bay Mills casino off-reservation – namely schemes for Port Huron (MI). The Michigan Gaming Commission rejected Malik's involvement in Detroit's MotorCity Casino in 1999. He can't get a license allowing any affiliation with a commercial casino which is his primary motivation behind the Bay Mills Indian schemes. Malik and his financial syndicates have spent millions on lawyers, capitol hill lobbying and political contributions trying to get special treatment that would lead to a casino but their numerous schemes have failed.  It’s predictable that each election season they resurrect their casino schemes and suggest to reporters and constituents that approvals are right around the corner. NOT! 

During the past decade Malik has used Parker’s Native American status to qualify for thousands, and perhaps millions, in federal grants and assistance.  Those schemes have funneled hundreds of thousands to questionable business ventures that Malik is secretly behind.  Most recently a supposed “plastics venture.” Malik and his pals have given thousands to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow; in 2006 she announced nearly $1 million in federal taxpayer funds would go to the plastics venture in which Malik owns at least  49%.

After TVT and others began raising questions about the plastics venture and Malik’s involvement in the scheme, any references to Malik, his casino entity Blue Water Resorts, International Composite Institute of Michigan, Polycomp, Inc., Integrated Composites, L.L.C. and other related entities were purged from the archives of the Bay Mills News. Before that we had learned that at a 2005 Bay Mills Council meeting, members raised questions about this venture and Malik’s involvement at the meeting, those questions and comments went ignored and unacknowledged by Parker.

It has been rumored the FBI is investigating the Parker/Malik ventures.

See these related posts:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bay Mills' Property in Flint Township not 'Indian Lands,' not Sovereign; Not Exempt from Taxes, Codes & Regulations

Flint Township shouldn’t fall under the spell of the The Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) – and certainly not yet. 

So why have BMIC officials launched a whirlwind public Romance with Flint Township? Beware, it doesn't benefit Flint Township.

BMIC Tribal Chair Jeffrey Parker | Not being honest with
Flint Township voters so he can get re-elected at Bay Mills.
Could the motivations be (1) political? You bet!  If BMIC Tribal Chair Jeff Parker could get an agreement or the suggestion of an imminent agreement with Flint Township, that might help him win re-election on Nov. 2.  Parker has had a firm grip on the tribe for a generation and now many are displeased with his schemes and promises.  He was challenged in the tribe’s primary where he got just 42% of the vote.  He eeked out another candidate by just 19 more votes and now he’s got to run against that candidate in the General Election next month.

But more importantly, could the motivations be (2) intended to give the tribe and its secret backers special and unnecessary financial advantages? Most likely. Could it be designed to (3) cheat the town out of rightful property taxes that fund not only emergency services but also local schools and other public services?  Most certainly!

There is no need to rush into an emergency services agreement that gives the tribe special treatment and accepts something less than the usual property taxes everyone else pay.  Despite representations by BMIC, Parker and other mouthpieces for the tribe’s developer, the property in Flint Township controlled by BMIC is not exempt from the usual property taxes today.

The property in Flint Township acquired by BMIC last year isn’t sovereign “Indian Lands” despite representations and therefore that property is not exempt from the usual taxes.  Indian “owned” does not necessarily mean “Indian Lands.”

In shutting down the Bay Mills rogue casino in Vanderbilt last Spring, the Court (Judge Maloney) ruled that the property in Vanderbilt, 100 miles away from the tribe’s Upper Penninsula reservation, does not qualify as “Indian Lands.” If that's the case in Vanderbilt, it's the case in Flint Township. Specifically from that ruling (pgs 10-11):

Section 107(a)(3) authorizes the earnings of the Land Trust to be used for two specific purposes: (1) improvements on tribal land and (2) the consolidation and enhancement of tribal landholdings. Bay Mills does not suggest or argue that the Vanderbilt Tract constitutes an “improvement on tribal land.” Bay Mills defends the purchase as authorized by the second purpose. In the context of this provision, the statutory language has a plain and obvious meaning. The word “consolidate” means “to bring together or unify.”9 The word “enhance” means “to improve or make greater” or “to augment.”10 Obviously, the purchase of the Vanderbilt Tract is an enhancement of tribal landholdings, as the additional land augmented, or made greater, the total land possessed by Bay Mills. However, the statute does not authorize every enhancement. The statute uses the conjunction “and” between the word “consolidation” and the word “enhancement.” The use of the word “and” cannot be ignored. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404 (2000) (“It is, however, a cardinal principle of statutory construction that we must ‘give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute.’”) (citations omitted). In order for the purchase of land to be an “enhancement” authorized by the § 107(a)(3), the purchase must also be a “consolidation.” The statute requires any land purchase to be both a consolidation and an enhancement. Under §107(a)(3), Bay Mills may use the earnings from the land trust to acquire additional land next to, or at least near, its existing tribal landholdings. The statute does not allow Bay Mills to create a patchwork of tribal landholdings across Michigan.

BMIC is cheating Flint Township if it doesn't pay the usual taxes. And this is no way to start a relationship.  Lying and cheating from the beginning.  Misrepresenting yourself.  If this is their way of business today, imagine what you can expect a year or two down the line when things get rocky. 

Given Judge Maloney’s ruling, it is reasonable that property taxes should be levied and collected on the BMIC property just like any other taxpayer.  Why give BMIC special treatment or defer payments today when there are too many unknowns?  But even more, why get locked into an agreement on property that might not be developed for ten years or more. Circumstances could change during that time. Consider that the people in Port Huron have been promised a BMIC casino time and time again, over the course of two decades, and still there’s nothing.

Why even spend time and money negotiating an agreement with BMIC right now?  Flint Township leaders should wait until the tribe resolves its related legal issues.  And since Parker is on record saying he wants to be the town’s good faith partner, then BMIC should start paying timely property taxes now and stay current with payments just like every other taxpayer is expected to do without seeking special treatment. And Parker should immediately stop misrepresenting his Flint Township property as sovereign land.  Represent the truth.

Flint Township residents, civic and business leaders shouldn’t get their hopes up for a BMIC windfall.  If history is any gauge you’ll only get your heartbroken time and time again. Ask the people of Vanderbilt now that payments have stopped.  Ask the people of Port Huron. And worse yet, expect you/ll get left standing alone at the alter and having to pay all the costs of a wedding and reception anyway.

Casinos Fail to Produce Phony Revenue Claims They Promised

from Middleboro Remembers: "Casinos" Fail to Produce Phony Revenue Claims They Promised

"In fact, the last time voters trusted gambling interests, they were promised $500 million per year for schools from taxes on slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Promoters even signed a contract, saying that if the Legislature did not tax slot machines, they would cut a check directly to the school boards. So far, they have generated a paltry 20 percent of this figure – and recently they successfully lobbied the Legislature for a 30 percent reduction in their tax rate. Like the lottery, another promise broken."

In this fact-check, we're not going to wade into whether casino gambling generates enough new tax revenue to meet the state's needs. Instead, we'll check what No Casinos calls a fact: that machine proponents promised "$500 million per year" for schools and only delivered about 20 percent of that.

It's an Election Year and Bay Mills Chairman Jeff Parker Wants Constituents to See Him as Good for the Economy both on and off Reservation


By Kayla Habermehl
FLINT TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Although still fighting a legal battle about whether a northern Michigan gaming facility is on "Indian land," the Bay Mills Indian Community chairman told a gathering of area businesses he believes a Flint Township casino will be a reality.

Jeff Parker, chairman of the executive committee for Bay Mills, spoke during the West Flint Business Association's monthly luncheon today in Flint Township. The potential facility is expected to be about 200,000 square feet, half of which would be gaming space, and could bring about 700 jobs to the area, Parker said.

Although the casino would be the "hub," Parker said Bay Mills planned to have the surrounding businesses by owned by area residents.

Many of the jobs would be minimum wage and the majority would be filled by area residents, he said.

Parker also said the tribe's attorneys were filing a motion today and three more Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that shut down Bay Mills' Vanderbilt facility earlier this year.

“We believe we’ve covered all the bases and we can go forward,” Parker said of the legality of the Vanderbilt facility.

Bay Mills purchased 28 acres in December at the northeast corner of Lennon and Dutcher roads in Flint Township.

Earlier this year, Bay Mills appealed a federal judge's ruling that forced the tribe to close a small casino in Vanderbilt, a slots-only gaming operation north of Gaylord, Mich. that opened without traditional approvals in place.

The lawsuit was filled by the state attorney general and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. They claimed the casino was illegal and running without necessary approvals.

Parker also planned to meet with township officials today to begin discussions about contracting for services such as police and fire. Called a payment in lieu of taxes, it would provide 2 percent of Bay Mills gross profits from the Flint Township facility to the township, Parker said.

He estimated it could result in between $2 million and $4 million for the township.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Same 20-Year-Old Story, Bay Mills Chairman Teasing Business Leaders with Hopeless Casino Plans

Some business owners are willing to take gamble on a new casino

FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (10/19/11) - Some Genesee County business owners are willing to take a gamble when it comes to creating jobs.

For years, various groups have floated legalized gambling proposals in Genesee County.

Now, the Bay Mills Indian community is making a serious push to build a casino near Genesee Valley Mall. The proposed casino would go near Lennon and Dutcher Roads in Flint Township.

Jeff Parker says the tribe bought the property years ago through a land settlement act, but there are legal obstacles to clear. Bay Mills is trying to settle a lawsuit challenging whether an "off reservation casino" can be built in that area.

Wednesday, Parker answered questions from the West Flint business association about the proposed project. Some business owners are in favor of building a casino.

Blogger's Note:  For more than 20 years Parker and a controversial Detroit Wheeler Dealer Michael Malik, have been romancing residents of Vanderbilt, Port Huron and the Flint / Flint Township area with false plans for Indian casinos -- teasing them with jobs, millions in new funds for local government and more. In many cases these communities have been sidetracked by the schemes and that's had greater negative economic impacts. Everyone of their schemes has failed.  Last year, without necessary approvals, they opened a rogue 1,600 square foot slots casino in Vanderbilt and then in March the Courts closed it down and it sits shuttered, embroiled in a complex legal challenge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thousands Threaten to Strike Motor City Casinos at Midnight


By Matt Helms
Thousands of unionized workers at Detroit’s three casinos are threatening to strike if management and labor can’t reach a deal by midnight tonight.

Negotiations were ongoing today after being extended for 48 hours past a Sunday deadline.

Representatives of several of the five unions on the Detroit Casino Council, representing dealers, hotel and restaurant workers, engineering, maintenance and other fields, couldn’t be reached this

UNITE-HERE Local 24, which represents hospitality workers at the casinos, said in a statement that members of the casino council on Oct. 11 approved a strike vote “by a margin of 97% in order to maintain the wages, benefits and working conditions they deserve” if an agreement isn’t reached.

Motor City Casino-Hotel spokeswoman Jacci Woods said only that management and the unions “have agreed to continue to meet and negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract prior to the new deadline.”

Greektown Casino-Hotel declined comment. MGM Grand Detroit officials couldn’t immediately be reached.

These are critical times for the casinos.

Despite having done well in the recession compared to the U.S. gambling industry as a whole, they're heavily indebted and face growing competition from Michigan’s Indian casinos and a new gambling hall set to open in Toledo next year.

Even third-place Greektown, which went through bankruptcy from which it emerged in June 2010, would have fared better without the debt all three casinos took on to build 400-room hotels required under city licensing deals, said Lansing-based casino analyst Jake Miklojcik.

“It’s like having a $300,000 house with a $600,000 mortgage,” said Miklojcik, a member of the board at Greektown during bankruptcy.

Casino Effects on Business, Charities, Job Seekers & Host Towns

from Middleboro Remembers: Casino Effects on Business, Charities, Job Seekers & Host Towns:

Broken Promises To Local Business & Host Communities

Take it from Kenneth Ivins, Finance Commissioner for casino host city Saratoga Springs, New York. The casino has driven up the city's costs for police, water, sewer, roads, and schools. But, facing a budget crunch, the state just zeroed out the $3.9 million in state aid the city once received to cover the increased costs.

And there are no economic gains for local merchants. "People who come to the area to gamble rarely shop," said Ivins. "The money is not going to the local merchants or the sales tax base. It's really not supporting our economy."

Run the Numbers: No Net Permanent Jobs

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that, for every $1 million diverted from household spending in New Hampshire, the state loses nine existing jobs. The New Hampshire Gaming Study Commission (page 19) projects that a $500 million Salem or Hudson casino would produce 2,215 permanent direct and indirect new jobs. But because up to half of casino revenue will be displaced from current consumer spending, nearly 2,500 existing jobs will be lost. Apart from temporary casino construction jobs, there are no net job gains.

Note that the median pay including tips at US casinos is $11.25 per hour.

Columnist Reports Ilitch IS behind Bay Mills Casino Schemes in Port Huron

Port Huron Times Herald Columnist Mike Connell suggests that despite denials, a constant dance of semantics, from Ilitch spokesman Tom Shields, Detroit’s Ilitch Family (fronted by Ilitch agent Michael J. Malik), have been behind schemes to build a Bay Mills Indian Community Casino in Port Huron (MI)

A tale of 2 cities: Motown vs. PoHo
...THE TUG OF WAR also reached editorial pages, where Port Huron casino supporters asked for the chance to compete with gaming facilities in Point Edward and Sarnia. No other American border town, they noted, has been denied this opportunity to participate in free trade.

Detroit pundits scoffed at these arguments. Even the editorial page of The Detroit News, a champion of free enterprise and conservatism, dismissed the notion of Port Huron being allowed to compete in the casino marketplace.

"Gaming works best for the region and the state when the casinos are concentrated downtown," The News intoned.

The failure of the bill nipped a blossoming partnership between a pair of billionaires -- Jim Acheson and Marian Ilitch -- who had completed blueprints for a spectacular development at Desmond Landing.

The casino was the anchor. Without it, there would be no hotels, hockey arena, commercial aquarium, indoor water park, antique boat museum, ship-watching center, minor-league baseball park, golf course or other ideas penciled into the grand plan... (Complete Column)

Motor City Casinos Nearing Union Contract Deadline

Deadline looms in Detroit casino contract talks

Contract extension with unions is set to expire at midnight
The New Contract Affects Dealers, Bartenders And Others Involved With Gaming

Detroit's three casinos and their unions face a midnight deadline tonight to reach a new deal before a contract extension expires.

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino-Hotel and Greektown Casino Hotel as well as UAW Local 7777 and other unions are negotiating on economic issues.

Members of the unions' Detroit Casino Council have approved a strike if an agreement is not reached by the deadline "to maintain the wages, benefits and working conditions they deserve," according to a statement by Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 24, which represents cleaning, maintenance and other workers.

The Detroit Casino Council includes workers from Local 24; UAW Local 7777, which represents dealers and slot technicians; Teamsters Local 372, which represents valet and warehouse employees; Operating Engineers Local 547, which represents engineers and other trades positions; and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

"MotorCity Casino Hotel and the Detroit Casino Council have agreed to … continue to meet and negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract prior to the new deadline," said MotorCity spokeswoman Jacci Woods in an email.

"I am unable to comment while negotiations are in process," said MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet in Las Vegas.

Greektown had no comment. UAW Local 7777 did not return calls for comment.

Revenues by the three casinos have increased 2.9 percent through the first nine months of this year compared with the same time last year, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The two largest gaming halls — MotorCity and MGM Grand — have experienced revenue increases through the first three quarters. Greektown, which last year emerged from bankruptcy protection, has posted a 1.8 percent revenue loss through the first nine months of the year.

National gaming analyst Frank Fantini has said the Detroit casinos' results reflect gains from the economic recovery.

It remains uncertain how much of the revenue increases are fueled by promotional free-play credits that customers redeem at casino games.

Unlike some other states, Michigan requires casinos to count free-play incentives as official revenue.

Barwest (Malik, Ilitch) Behind Earlier Los Coyotes Dispute; Tribal Elder calls Malik "Devil," says he's "Seduced" Younger Members

Dispute threatens to split Los Coyotes tribe

By Malcolm Maclachlan
An internal disagreement over whether to continue the relationship with their longtime business partner is threatening to split the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians.

The tribe joined with a Detroit-based management company in 2003 as part of their effort to land a casino. After yet another setback in that effort, the tribe's longtime leader wants to sever ties with Barwest LLC and its owner, Michael Malik. Another faction in the tribe may be on the verge of attempting to oust her, Saubel said.

The result has been a barrage of accusations and counter allegations.

Los Coyotes has been in the news in recent months as the tribe sought to work with another tribe, the Big Lagoon Rancheria, to open a casino in Barstow. (Los Coyotes' reservation is located in San Diego County. Big Lagoon is in Humboldt County.) Saubel claimed that Barwest and Malik "have done nothing" for the tribe except make empty promises.

"Why should we give [Malik] another chance when there are other people who want to help us?" Saubel said. "He's standing in our way."

Saubel said the 300-member tribe is now divided into two approximately equal halves. Her group includes most of the older tribal members, she said. They also remain allied with the investment firm Barronhaus and its principals, Barron Maisel and Gretchen Belli.

The other side is led by a pair of younger tribal leaders, Shane Chapparosa and Tina Johnson. Saubel said this group includes the rest of the Chapparosa family and many of the tribe's younger members. They remain allied with Barwest.

"We are planning on moving forward with Barwest," said Chapparosa, who is listed as the tribe's vice spokesperson. He said he continues to work under Saubel.

When told that Saubel had made conflicting statements, he indicated that the dispute could be settled by next week. "We have some internal tribal matters that we need to take care of," Chapparosa said.

Capitol Weekly has acquired numerous and contradictory documents detailing the relationship between Barwest and Los Coyotes. A spokesman for Barwest, Tom Shields, characterized the leaking of these documents as "part of a long line of efforts by people who want to derail this project." One of these documents was a September 28 letter from Saubel to Malik and Barwest, written on tribal letterhead.

"The tribe is in the process of starting over," Saubel wrote. "As part of this new beginning, and at least for the time being, the Tribe will disengage from LCB Barwest LLC."

Shields characterized this as part of an ongoing discussion, and said the tribe never entertained serious offers from any other outside management company. He denied that there was any "dispute" within the tribe.

"There are confidential letters that have gone back and forth between the tribe," Shields said. "It's unfortunate that there are folks out there who feel they need to distribute confidential information."

In another complication, Barwest owns the Barstow land on which the tribe hopes to build their casino. In her letter, Saubel wrote "regardless of whether Barwest comes to work with us again as a developer and casino manager, the tribe hopes to negotiate the purchase of the Barstow real property owned by LCB Barwest."

Shields said that Barwest "provided the financing part of that is purchasing the land," and the parties still intend to build there. In a Wednesday story in a local Barstow paper, the Desert Dispatch, Malik was quoted as saying he would not sell the land to the tribe if they were no longer working together.

In the meantime, Shields said, the tribe had cut ties with the Barronhaus. This was indicated in an October 17 letter from the tribe’s official counsel, Joel Bernstein of the firm McDermott Will & Emery. "The tribe voted on October 14, 2007, to sever all business relationships with you. You are not to represent to any third party that you represent the tribe."

"We had some deep concerns about some of the people who were involved with the tribe," Shields said. "They have severed that relationship."

Not so, said Saubel. She said Barronhaus has "done a good job" and continues to work with the tribe. She said the letter in question was drafted by Bernstein but never sent. When asked how the letter got out, Saubel said she didn't know. However, the tribal offices were broken into over the weekend and numerous internal documents were stolen, she said.

Maisel also said that his company continues to work with Los Coyotes. Barronhaus started working with Los Coyotes in 2002, and actually brought Barwest in the next year, a decision he said was a mistake. He also said a lawsuit filed against them by Barwest in June was a "frivolous" attempt to force them out and that papers were never served. Maisel went on to allege the Barwest was the source of the letters leaked to the media.

"The source is Tom Shields trying to split the tribe in two," Maisel said.

Big Lagoon chairman Virgil Moorehead said that his tribe is no longer involved with the Barstow Casino effort and are going ahead with a solo attempt to build a casino on their own lands, 750 miles to the north. The two tribes had a deal with the state to pursue a shared casino in Barstow, but that expired six weeks ago.

"Since September 17, we're focused on Big Lagoon and our negotiations with the state," Moorehead said.

Senator Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, proposed a gaming compact for the tribes this year in SB 157. The bill never moved out of committee and was amended in September to become a measure on licensing wine growers. The Michael Malik Sr. Trust contributed $2,000 to Wiggins' Senate campaign last year.

Saubel said there is a council-only meeting today to discuss the casino efforts--a meeting she was not invited to be but plans to attend anyway. A full tribal council meeting is set for mid-November. Saubel claimed the Malik has "seduced" the younger member of the tribe and called him "the devil himself."

"I was 83 when we started this. I'm 87 now," Saubel said. "I think he's just waiting for me to keel over."

NOTE: This wouldn't be the first time Mike Malik "seduced" younger members of a tribe. In the early 2000s, a married Malik had an affair with the Heather Lufkins, the young daughter of then Bay Mills Indian Community chair John Lufkins. She has alleged in court that Malik coerced her into lying during his subsequent divorce proceedings to shield real estate assets for his advantage.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Despite Millions in Lobbying and Political $$$, Ilitch toady Rep. Candice Miller has Failed to Deliver GOP Support for their Casino Schemes

Port Huron Times Herald Columnist Mike Connell points out the failure by the Ilitch Family, Michael Malik and their political toddy Rep. Candice Miller to actually win GOP Political support on Capitol Hill for their failed Bay Mills Indian Community casino schemes.

Note: Ilitch and Malik families have contributed $83,000 directly to Rep. Candice Miller during the last decade and raised thousands more from friends, business associates and partners in their investment syndicates.  They've paid millions ($3,325,000.00) to D.C. Lobbying firms intended to back up Rep. Miller's efforts.

...IF IT IS TRUE, and we may never know with certainty, it would not be the first time Motown has plucked a plum from PoHo.

A memorable example came three years ago when then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick led Detroit's successful effort to block a casino in Port Huron.

Kwame's mommy, former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and Detroit's other representative, John Conyers, crushed the Port Huron casino bill on the House floor. They did so by making an unusual -- some might say unholy -- alliance with out-state Republicans.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, whose district includes St. Clair County, supported the casino, but she could not convince any of her Republican colleagues in the Michigan delegation to join her. Overall, Republicans opposed the measure, 167-25, shattering whatever hopes Port Huron had... (Complete Column)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On the Los Coyotes Reservation, There's a History of Dispute Resolution akin to the Wild West


By Chet Barfield
Staff Writer

LOS COYOTES INDIAN RESERVATION -- Cattleman Frank Taylor rips hay from a bale, tossing handfuls to a dozen cows & calves that came running like puppies at the toot of his pickup horn.

Cattle, he explains, "are very clannish." If one group strays into another's territory, "those cows will hook them & chase them out."

Taylor, 61, is learning about that firsthand. He & his extended family are the focus of a dispute that's tearing apart this remote reservation in the mountains above Warner Springs, 70 miles northeast of San Diego.

Tribal Chairwoman Catherine Saubel & her followers are trying to banish the Taylors from the tribe. They openly hate the family of 20, whose late patriarch, Banning Taylor, ran the reservation for almost 50 years before his death in 1998 at age 92.

The Taylors refuse to budge. They've hired a lawyer to plead their case to the Sheriff's Department, Congress & the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Tensions that have simmered for years are reaching the breaking point. A brawl erupted at the monthly tribal meeting in March when the Taylors defied an edict not to attend. Sheriff's deputies were called to break up the fight, which caused some cuts & bruises but prompted no arrests.

Many up here fear things could get worse. Hot-tempered foes of the Taylors are brandishing guns & making threats. Frank Taylor keeps a weapon of his own within reach -- "for shooting rattlesnakes," he says.

Each side points fingers at the other: "Two men in a white pickup (like Taylor's) tried to run over our kids." . . . "My dog was shot in the face." . . . "I've had two dogs poisoned in the past year. . . . "

And, from the Taylors: "Our cattle have been shot." . . . "My grandson was almost grabbed out of our car." . . . "My fences & corrals have been vandalized. . . . "

"When a dog gets shot, he (Taylor) gets blamed for it whether there's evidence or not," said sheriff's Deputy Scottie Dawson, who has been patrolling Los Coyotes & other North County reservations since 1991. "It's been going on since before I was a deputy out here."

How did it come to this? Much of the answer dates back to the 1930s, when Banning Taylor was adopted into the tribe.

Born in Warner Springs, Taylor, a cattleman, moved in the early 1900s onto a 157-acre homestead that juts into the southwestern border of the 25,000-acre reservation. He raised his two sons there. (One died in 1986.)

In 1934, Taylor was adopted by tribal vote into the Los Coyotes band, which consisted of a Cahuilla Indian village in the mountains overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert, & some Cupeños occupying the foothills near Warner Springs.

The tribe now has 290 members, only about 40 of whom live on the reservation. Half of those residents are Taylors.

The late patriarch's Indian blood -- or lack of it -- has been an ongoing issue of contention.

"He's a white man," said the chairwoman's brother, Cahuilla elder Alvino Siva. "And all of his children, if you check their birth certificates, are all white."

Banning Taylor publicly claimed to be of mixed ancestry, Irish & Cupeño. Yet stories persist, passed down for generations, that he tricked his way into the tribe.

Some say he was a bootlegger who got the Indians drunk or did them other favors. Others say tribal members who spoke no English were told the adoption vote was only to grant Taylor a work permit.

"Banning Taylor has lied & lied & lied. He was a smart man, smart crook-wise," said Cupeño elder Ruth Cassell, 73, who left the reservation in her childhood but returned in the 1960s. "He was a white man. He could get jobs for the Indians. He got liquor for the Indians, too.

"He was the only one who had a truck. He used to go someplace & get fresh vegetables -- bananas, celery, sometimes lettuce & tomatoes. . . . He used to bring it, & we'd be glad to see him."

Frank Taylor says he has records proving his Cupeño lineage back to Juan Antonio Garra, leader of a notorious 1851 Indian uprising. He said he brought the documents to a tribal meeting last year, but Saubel wouldn't accept them.

Taylor also has copies of a 1978 U.S. Interior Department administrative ruling in which critics, including Saubel, tried & failed to have Banning Taylor's adoption declared invalid.

The department's Indian affairs bureau sent a letter March 30 to Rep. Ron Packard -- with a copy to Saubel -- stating it still stands by that ruling, & it would be "inappropriate (for the tribe) to raise the issue of the validity of the adoption of Banning Taylor Sr. or to attempt to disenroll his family upon these grounds his long tenure as chairman from the mid-1940s until 1996, when old age & ill health forced his retirement.

Critics say Taylor took care of his own & ignored the tribe's needs. One example was the power & phone lines, which until two years ago stopped at the Taylor ranch. His family lived in comfort while Indians on the other side of the hill lived in trailers & shacks with wood stoves & kerosene lamps.

Power lines were brought to the poor side in 1998; seven months after Saubel took office. But the project was started by Frank Taylor, who had been chairman the previous two years.

Frank Taylor says -- as his father did -- that tribal members themselves voted down the power extension in the 1970s because they distrusted government grants. He says his family members work & bought what they have with their own money.

Throughout Banning Taylor's years as chairman, Saubel & others accused him of taking government funds without putting them to use for the tribe. Now the Taylors are saying the same about Saubel.

The 80-year-old chairwoman dismisses these as white man's lies. She issued an edict -- backed by a vote at the March meeting -- giving the Taylors 60 days to document their enrollment or get out.

"We want them out, out of the reservation, because that reservation is for Indians, not blondes, blue-eyes & redheads," said Saubel, who left Los Coyotes as a youth & lives on the Morongo reservation near Palm Springs. "If I was white like them, I wouldn't want to be stuck in there with the Indians."

Tribal secretary Francine Kupsch said she & many others believe the Taylors are not legally enrolled & should have no rights in the tribe.

"It's all B.S.," she said of the 1978 ruling on Banning Taylor's adoption, "because nobody can decide our membership up here. Only we can."

Mayor Disappointed that Shinnecock Failed to Include Floral Park in Community Outreach for Belmont Park Casino Scheme

Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy
Floral Park, New York

Mayor’s Message Village of Floral Park: October 13, 2011

The 10th and final principle relates to oversight and transparency. This principle speaks to more than just a measure of trust; this is a requirement that must be memorialized into law. The State of New York, its governor and elected state representatives, has a moral obligation to fairly and equitably represent the interests of all New Yorkers. Our 2007 Statement of Principles speaks to the fundamental issues of fairness. The analysis of this 10th principle articulates the apparently deliberate yet inequitable treatment the surrounding communities of Belmont Park are subject to when compared with other — state owned; NYRA operated — thoroughbred racing facilities.


X. The neighboring communities must be involved and considered in any significant change of operations or activities at the facilities. The facilities must be subject to formal local oversight and review to consider all proposed additions, renovations or demolitions at the sites. There should be the establishment of a corporate ethics compliance official and a local community liaison who will be available to the surrounding communities to ensure implementation of both the letter and spirit of this Statement of Principles.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the State of New York’s taking over effective control of the 435-acre Belmont Park from NYRA has been the continued lack of transparency associated with its current and future operations. As one of Floral Park’s elected representatives, it is frustrating to learn that the Shinnecock Indian Nation was holding informational meetings about their plans at Belmont Park without any representative from the Village of Floral Park being invited to participate. We have made our displeasure known, however, to representatives of Senator Jack Martins, NYRA, as well as those knowledgeable about the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s proposal. While we are optimistic that promises that representatives from the Village of Floral Park, in recognition of our status as a host community of Belmont Park, will not be “inadvertently” omitted from any future discussions concerning Belmont Park, we would be more at ease if those assurances were written into law rather than merely expressions of apparently good intentions.

Ironically, when the State of New York passed the legislation in 2008 to take over control of Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont Park from NYRA, and while a new local community advisory board was created for the communities surrounding Saratoga and Aqueduct, once again the communities surrounding Belmont Park were unbelievably, left out in the cold! Despite the submission of our Statement of Principles in 2007 to the State of New York, which clearly expresses Floral Park’s interest in participating in such an advisory board for Belmont Park, the governor signed the bill on Feb. 13, 2008 without establishing a similar advisory board for Belmont Park. We immediately raised the issue with Senator Craig Johnson, who represented our community at the time. Thereafter, he introduced an amendment to establish a 15-member advisory board for Belmont Park, of which four members were to be designated by the mayor of Floral Park, with the approval of Floral Park’s entire board of trustees. In addition to the four designees from Floral Park, four would be designated from the Town of Hempstead (three of whom reside within the Hempstead hamlet of Elmont); four would be designees of the Elmont Community Coalition of Civics and three would be designated by NYRA itself.

Once again the mysterious ways of Albany resulted in a failure to pass bill S.766-2009 creating a local advisory board for Belmont Park. Now that representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation have proposed construction of a casino and hotel facilities at Belmont Park, along with who knows what other changes the backroom discussions in Albany may be scheming to foist upon the communities surrounding Belmont Park in the future, the need of Floral Park to have a formal role as host community of Belmont Park is now greater than ever. While we would want any group overseeing the developments at Belmont Park to include a corporate ethics compliance official and a local community liaison who will be available to the surrounding communities to ensure implementation of both the letter and spirit of this Statement of Principles, at least having a formal board would be a good start. Why the neighbors of Saratoga and Aqueduct have been given a formal voice in what takes place there, while the State of New York continues to ignore the neighbors of Belmont Park begins to look more like an act of commission rather than an inadvertent act of omission. Even a barnyard dog at Belmont Park knows when it has been accidentally tripped over and when it is purposefully kicked; so do the communities surrounding Belmont Park. It’s about time the State of New York demonstrates that they will treat us like a member of the family rather than being left out in the cold in Belmont Park’s barnyard doghouse. They should know by now that our bite will surely be worse than just our bark!

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