The leader of the Wilton Rancheria
won't say whether the tribe is in negotiations for a Class III gaming compact with the state of California.
The compact is necessary if the tribe intends to offer slot machines, poker, blackjack and related games at its $400 million casino in the city of Elk Grove. But Chairman Raymond “Chucky” Hitchcock declined to comment on that issue when asked by Comstock's Magazine. He also wasn't able to say when the casino might open.
Still, Hitchcock remains fully committed to the project. He believes the casino will create a better future for his people, whose federal status was in limbo up until 2009
“I feel like [this is] what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” Hitchcock told Comstock's “I can’t really fathom what that really means, it just feels like I’m doing the right thing.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs
approved the land-into-trust application
on January 19, the last full day of the Obama administration. The 36-acre gaming site was then acquired in trust on February 10, according to letter sent to casino opponents
as part of a lawsuit in federal court.
But between those dates, casino opponents -- including the secretive Stand Up For California
did little to advance their lawsuit, government attorneys said in a March 3 filing
. Instead, they decided to fight the acquisition of the land through the Interior Board of Indian Appeals
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has put the lawsuit on hold while the IBIA determines whether it can resolve the matter, according to a March 6 order.
Additionally, casino opponents are suing the city of Elk Grove in state court in hopes of obtaining more records about the project. Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up For California told Comstock's that she is advising those plaintiffs, two of whom are a part of her lawsuit in federal court.
Read More on the Story:
Raising the Stakes
(Comstock's Magazine 6/27)
The House Raises
(Comstock's Magazine 6/27)
Anti-Casino Lawsuit Says Elk Grove Mayor Ly Suggested Solicitation of Funds For Son's Classroom From Wilton Rancheria
(The Elk Grove News 6/22)
Activists file lawsuit against city over casino
(The Elk Grove Citizen 6/21)
Federal Register Notices:Final
Environmental Impact Statement and a Revised Draft Conformity Determination for
the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento
(December 14, 2016)Draft
Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust
and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California
(December 29, 2015)Notice
of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton
Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, California
(December 4, 2013)
Join the Conversation
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(June 21, 2017)Charles
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(March 7, 2017)Wilton
Rancheria joins lawsuit as foes challenge casino decision
of Indian Affairs confirms Wilton Rancheria casino site in trust