Chumash Tribe legal team 'laughed' at suit over casino expansion

Artist's rendering of the new hotel tower at the Chumash Casino Resort that's part of a $160 million expansion plan. Image from Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Attorneys for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians "laughed off" a lawsuit filed by casino expansion opponents, Chairman Vincent Armenta said.

The tribe is spending $160 million to add a 215-room hotel tower, a 20,000 square-foot pool, 584-space parking garage and other amenities to the Chumash Casino Resort. A group called Save the Valley is hoping to stop the project by claiming the site is not a part of the reservation.

This artist's rendering shows the pool deck at the Chumash Casino Resort. Image from Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

“Where they came up with this crazy idea that the reservation isn’t a reservation is beyond me,” Armenta told The Lompoc Record in response. “I think the majority of the people in this community who know what’s going on are laughing.”

Armenta said the deed that established the reservation set aside the land "for the perpetual use and occupancy" of the tribe. “OK, well, what is not clear about that?” he told the paper.

The group's complaint names Armenta and other tribal leaders as defendants. The case will likely face a serious hurdle going forward due to tribal sovereign immunity.

Get the Story:
Santa Ynez Valley activist group sues to halt Chumash hotel expansion (The Lompoc Record 4/9)

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