Court won't review decision favoring North Fork Rancheria casino

Artist's rendering of the proposed North Fork Rancheria off-reservation casino. Image from North Fork Casino Environmental Impact Statement

The California Supreme Court won't review a decision favoring an off-reservation casino approved by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians sued Brown for concurring with a two-part determination for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. But the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento ruled that the California Environmental Quality Act did not authorize the action against the governor because he isn't a "public agency."

“The tribe did not sue a government office in this case; the tribe sued an individual — Edmund G. Brown Jr.,” Justice Ronald Robie wrote in the unanimous decision last September. “True, the tribe sued that individual in his capacity as the Governor of California, but even in that capacity he is still an individual. He is not an ‘office’; he is a person — the chief executive officer of the state.”

The Chukchansi Tribe asked the state's highest court to review the matter. But the justices rejected the request, according to the court's conference results.

The Chukchansis operate the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, about 38 miles from the North Fork gaming site. The facility was shut down last October due to an internal leadership dispute and remains closed.

The Chukchansis helped finance a Proposition 48 to oppose the rival casino. Voters statewide rejected the project by a 61-39 margin but the North Forth Rancheria still plans to build a casino at the site because the land is already in trust.

The tribe's Class III gaming compact has been approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It's not clear whether the vote, which overturned a state bill that ratified the agreement, disturbs the BIA's approval.

Get the Story:
S.C. Won’t Review Ruling Brown Not Subject to CEQA (The Metropolitan News-Enterprise 1/15)

Court of Appeal Decision:
Picayune Rancheria v. Brown (September 24, 2014)

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (October 22, 2013)
Land Acquisitions; North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: North Fork Rancheria Decision | Section 20 Determination: North Fork Rancheria

Related Stories
Editorial: Don't let North Fork Rancheria proceed with casino plan (01/05)
Column: Wealthy tribes spend big to limit competition to casinos (12/09)
North Fork Rancheria won't give up casino plans despite vote (11/06)

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