Thursday, August 4, 2011

Indian gaming case opens in Arizona with parallels to Wampanoag schemes in MA

Turtle Talk reports on the opening Ninth Circuit briefs in Gila River Indian Community v. United States (Tohono O’odham Off-Reservation Gaming) revealing yet another local rift caused by Indian gaming. 

This case poses the question whether federal law enables an Indian tribe to buy land within a city, convert that land into a “reservation” and use it to build a massive casino – all without the consent of, and against the wishes of, both the city and State.    Sound crazy?  Well, a current Districe Court decision has held that federal law does authorize this “stunning encroachment on state sovereign prerogative and local control” according to arguments filed by the Arizona city of Glendale.

In this case, much like the schemes currently floating by the Mashpee Wampanoag serving as a front for the Malaysian gaming syndicate Genting, a “shell corporation” was used to purchase land within the city of Glendale.  Does this make you wonder why Cedric Cromwell and his fellow Wampanoag council members have created a separate, private real estate company named First Light Inc  – what “secret” land deals have they concocted which will later turn local communities into Indian gambling reservations free from local law enforcement, zoning and other controls?

In Arizona, the tribe used their secret shell company to purchase lands with the clear intent of later claiming these lands were owned by the tribe for the purposes seeking to have the Department of the Interior convert them to lands in trust.  As reported by ReelWamps, if the Wampanog tribe members don’t know what secret real estate deals Cromwell and his gang have already entered into using their shell company how can the Commonwealth or other local communities deal with them in good faith?


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