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Tigua Tribe feels 'betrayed' by Jack Abramoff

The Tigua Tribe of Texas dug itself out of poverty to build a casino that brought in $60 million a year. Gaming revenues paid for new housing, health care facilities and created jobs for many tribal members.

But the tribe is now down on its luck after losing a court battle with the state of Texas that forced the closure of the casino. To make matters worse, the tribe got hitched up with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who promised to help -- at a cost of $4.2 million.

The tribe paid the money to Abramoff's partner Michael Scanlon but nothing happened. The legislative scheme unraveled and the tribe later found out that Abramoff was part of a campaign to generate public support for the closure of the casino.

"We were betrayed," Gov. Arturo Senclair tells The New York Times.

Abramoff has denied working against the tribe. In a previous interview with The Times, he said he was working against the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe's casino and that the Tiguas were merely collateral damage.

In addition to the $4.2 million, the tribe was told by Abramoff to make $300,000 in contributions to Republican organizations and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), the sponsor of the casino legislation. Ney, who also claims he was duped by Abramoff, is facing an ethics inquiry over his role.

Get the Story:
For a Tribe in Texas, an Era of Prosperity Undone by Politics (The New York Times 6/13)
Ohio's Ney tries to shrug off damage from scandal (Gannett News Service 6/11)

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