Tohono O'odham Nation Continues Defending Plans for West Valley Casino; Opponents' Lawsuits Haven't Let Up
Consider a courtroom exchange in June 2011 between him and James P. Tuite, an attorney for the Gila River Indian Community:
The attorney told the judge they "have alleged sufficient facts to show that parties understood and endorsed the concept that a fundamental premise of the compact" was that no "new gaming facilities [would be] constructed in the Phoenix metropolitan area."
Campbell says it doesn't make sense to him.
"If that was a fundamental premise of this compact, it would have been a real easy thing to say that in the compact, right?" Campbell asked.
"Yes, Your Honor, that's true," the attorney replied. "But we think there are, based on allegations we made, good reasons to think that the parties didn't feel it necessary to spell that out."
The judge said that it was a "pretty surprising idea, in his mind, for parties represented by lawyers and who are negotiating a contract that will become a compact that has [a] ... clause that says that no other understandings, or agreements not in writing, will be enforceable."
He continues: "For somebody with that kind of a clause going into the compact [now] saying this other understanding is so fundamental that we don't have to say it just didn't make sense to me."
Such comments don't bode well for those desperate to quash plans for a West Valley casino.
That might be why, even as the lawsuit makes its way through court, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks' office issued a press release on January 18 saying that TON leaders were being "deceptive" and "betrayed the trust."
Seems like Franks is trying to drum up support to revive a narrow, anti-casino bill he proposed in June 2012.
Franks' bill (H.R. 2938) was tailored to prohibit casino-style gaming on the Nation's West Valley land by altering the law passed by Congress in 1986 granting the Nation the right -- and the money -- to purchase reservation lands to replace those lost in the San Lucy floods.
The House of Representatives approved Franks' bill, but it never got a hearing in the Senate. Attempts to alter such an agreement with a tribe is something that hasn't happened in modern history, representatives for the TO note.
Norris said that the "opposition's willingness to say and do anything to protect their market share is well-documented. This is merely their latest attempt at misinformation and it will prove as unsuccessful as it has before."
He said they "anticipate yet another favorable ruling."