Russell Pearce Suing the Feds to Derail Tohono O'odham's Proposed Casino ... and Glendale's Picking up the Tab!

Categories: Who's Suing Who
Russell Pearce


Senator Russell Pearce, best known for his immigrant-loathing views, is taking on the Tohono O'odham Nation, an Indian tribe that plans to open a resort-style casino in the West Valley.

Pearce and state Senate-hopeful Scott Bundgaard, now joined by about a dozen Arizona lawmakers, have filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior. They join the City of Glendale and the Gila River Indian Community in trying to derail the casino project.

We're sure Pearce has his usual moralistic reasons for trying to stop the casino. Just like with the Mormon legislator's bashing of Latinos, which is hurting Arizona economically, he cares nothing about any economic boon the casino could bring. 

More ridiculous than a Mesa senator and other lawmakers trying to inject themselves in this ongoing legal battle is that Glendale is paying the Rose Law Firm to handle the lawmakers' suit, according to one of the firm's attorney.

Picking up the tab for a Pearce & Co. lawsuit is unbelievable considering that taxpayers are already shelling out money to pay for Glendale's own lawsuit filed against the feds in September.

Initially, the Yellow Sheet reported that Jordan Rose (of the Rose Law Firm) refused to say who was picking up the tab, citing attorney-client privilege. But, at a press conference this morning, when the lawmakers were questioned about who was paying the bill, the law firm revealed that Glendale was providing the financial support.

New Times called Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall to ask about legal expenses, but he was not immediately available.

Pearce and the other Republican lawmakers involved want to turn the legal battle between the Tohono O'odham Nation and Glendale into a states versus the federal government issue.

Tohono O'odham leaders say the lawmakers move is a "politically motivated and crass attempt to further delay" the development of The West Valley Resort, the creation of 6,000 construction jobs, and more than 3,000 permanent jobs, plus the infusion of an estimated $300 million economic impact to Arizona.

The Interior Department is at the center of the lawsuits because it approved in July the Nation's application to place into trust the land it owns near 95th and Northern avenues. Placing land into trust means that it becomes an Indian reservation. In this case, it would become an extension of the Tohono O'odham Nation reservation lands in southern and central Arizona.

Read more about why Congress approved a law in 1986 giving the Nation the right to transform a pocket of unincorporated Maricopa County land in the West Valley into an Indian reservation.

Ned Norris Jr., chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, said in a statement: "It is unfortunate these individuals are ignoring the opportunity for a community dialogue about how to make this project a success for the West Valley. Instead, they are doing everything they can to prevent job creation, economic activity and tourism promotion at a time when our state most desperately needs it." 

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Looks like Courts are favoring TO's Indian casino. If TO Chairman Ed Norris speaks truthfully, which he has not been doing, regarding the proposed TO Glendale casino, there "may" be  6,000 SHORT-TERM (a few month's)TEMPORARY construction jobs &  3,000 (?) potentially permanent casino jobs. - INDIAN PREFERENCE, of course!  It has been said, Indian casinos are "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK" ESTABLISHMENTS!  Indians have sovereign immunity from suit so, employees and patrons will have difficulty trying to collect if injured in any way while on the casino premises. Although much parking will be available, neighborhoods will become cas-patron PARKING LOTS (read websites of other casinos on this) - people prefer parking on city streets & in front of homes!  There will be all kinds of criminal activity: drinking, loiterning by undesirables,vandalism, theft, burglary, suicides, maybe even murders.... all manner of POLLUTION!  Increased TRAFFIC & its PROBLEMS!, DRUNKEN INDIANS & NON-TRIBAL DRUNKS & OTHER UNDESIRABLES ROAMING neighborhoods & nearby schools!  "FREE" police/fire dept./"911"/(increased) legal aid, & other state, county, city services!  AND SINCE INDIANS (THE TO'S) DON'T PAY TAXES -  AZ TAXPAYERS WILL FOOT THESE COSYS!  The state WILL get their percentage of casino profits on the one-hand BUT WILL SUFFER THE SOCIAL COSTS ON THE OTHER HAND! With the proposed casino site near a local high school will surely have a NEGATIVE IMPACT ON IMPRESSIONABLE TEENS who will want to patronize the casino's amenities that they are allowed to AND WILL END UP GETTING GAMBLING "FEVER which they will carry into their adult lives!  Then there are the already hard-core gambling-addicted who will increase gambler's anonymous programs.  People, gambling on winning jackpots, will lose money they can't afford to lose: income from: jobs, social security, disability, bank savings & other retirement funds....  People will lose jobs due to gambling addiction.  Marriages will break up and INNOCENT CHILDFEN WILL BE THE LOSERS!  There will be increased welfare hand-outs:general assistance, aid to dependent children, food stamps...), free county medical care well as increased COURT ACTIVITY: traffic court, bankruptcy cases, family court, family counseling, divorces....  So, in reality, if people would research all this, the STATE WILL "PAY OUT MORE" THAN IT TAKES IN FROM THE Tohono-O'Odem's PROPOSED GLENDALE CASINO!    

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I will assume pearce must have some financial interest in a competing organization. He doesn't appear to do anything for anyone other than himself. In investigation into his holdings might be revealing...


NPR Reports On ThinkProgress’ Investigation Of Prison Industries’ Role In Crafting Anti-Immigrant Laws By Lee Fang at 11:50 amNPR Reports On ThinkProgress’ Investigation Of Prison Industries’ Role In Crafting Anti-Immigrant Laws In September, ThinkProgress published an investigation into the prison industry’s role in helping enact SB1070, the anti-immigrant racial profiling law passed in Arizona. We charted the role of the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America, which builds and manages immigrant detention centers, in assisting SB1070 sponsor State Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) and how lobbyists from the company work closely with Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who signed the bill into law. Private prison companies have funneled money to legislators sponsoring SB1070 copycat bills across the country, and the industry is using a corporate front group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to help lawmakers in Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania to create anti-immigrant laws to encourage police to arrest more immigrants and people of color. Today, NPR followed up with a story about the role of the prison industry-funded ALEC in crafting Arizona’s law, and how ALEC appears to be continuing its strategy in states like Maryland:

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, “Yeah, that’s the way it’s set up. It’s a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together.” Nothing about this is illegal. Pearce’s immigration plan became a prospective bill and Pearce took it home to Arizona.


"Instead, they are doing everything they can to prevent job creation, economic activity and tourism promotion at a time when our state most desperately needs it."

That's what Russell Pearce and the gang down at the legislature have been doing for years. Why would anybody expect anything different?

Tom R.
Tom R.

Doesn't Glendale's payment of attorneys fees for private individuals violate Article 9, Section 7 of the Arizona Constitution, the anti-gift provision?

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