COARSEGOLD – After years of fighting and bickering amongst themselves, the various factions battling for control of the Chukchansi leadership are being brought before a higher authority.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint for injunctive relief in U.S. District Court in Fresno last night, and the judge issued a temporary restraining order, closing the hotel/casino until a hearing on Oct. 15.
The parties ordered to appear in court include the Reggie Lewis faction, the Tex McDonald faction, and the Morris Reed faction.
In the meantime, all security – both armed and unarmed – have been ordered to vacate all tribal land properties. They have been advised that they cannot come within 1,000 yards of tribal property.
Under the direction of Madera County Sheriff John Anderson, Director of Emergency Services for Madera County, the sworn peace officers with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office will provide security on all tribal land. This will include both the tribal compound, located on Road 417, and the casino property located on Lucky Lane.
With help from mutual aid from the Fresno Police Department and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, 20 Madera County deputies, along with 30 additional sworn peace officers will remain on site though the duration of the restraining order and temporary closure.
The Attorney General’s complaint states that the armed security forces that have taken actions to “occupy, control or forcibly enter facilities in, adjacent to, and near the Casino… pose an imminent threat to the public health and safety of Chukchansi’s members, the Casino’s patrons and employees, and the State’s residents.”
The complaint goes on to say that the intra-tribal dispute among three groups claiming leadership rights involves armed factions, and that the recent takeover of the casino was apparently done with the use of firearms and Tasers, and security personnel were held at gun point.
The AG asked for relief based on Breach of Compact, stating that the Chukchansi agreed to ensure the physical safety of patrons and employees in conducting their gaming operations, and that they have materially breached their Compact with the State of California.
The complaint asked that the casino be prohibited from operating unless and until the public and the employees can be adequately protected from threats and violent confrontations between the factions.
This action is the direct result of an armed clash that erupted inside the Chukchansi Casino on Thursday evening as patrons gambled and dined while being catered to by casino employees.