NORTH FORK — Mono tribal officials are hopeful the last remaining legal barriers may soon be removed in the tribe’s nearly 20-year effort to build a casino and hotel off Highway 99 near Madera.
On June 2, the California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria v Newsom.
“This is the case we have been waiting on for a final ruling,” said a statement posted on the tribe’s Facebook page late last week.
“The outcome of this ruling will be applied to the Tribe’s lawsuit and is the last barrier we face in order to start building,” the statement also said. “Tribal Council is confident that the court will rule in the Governor’s favor.”
While a number of other California tribe’s with casinos have opposed the Mono’s plan, Governor Newsom supports the Mono casino project.
The Tribe began their pursuit of the hotel/casino project in 2003 when they signed a development and management agreement with Station Casinos, who will oversee construction and manage the casino operations if the plan win approval.
A gaming compact between the Tribe and State of California was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 31, 2012 and approved by the state assembly May 2, 2013.
A separate lawsuit opposing the proposed casino was decided March 14, 2014 by a Madera County judge who ruled that the state process authorizing the casino project was constitutional.
After hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court typically renders a decision within 90 days.
“Once the Supreme Court rules in the Tribe’s favor, we will start all of the pre-construction and get the finance package together,” a process that could take between three and six months, Mono tribal council member Jacquie Davis Van Huss posted last year on the project’s Facebook page.
To watch the June 2 Supreme Court proceedings and to get alerts on the case as it moves forward, click here.