Tohono O'odham Nation Continues Defending Plans for West Valley Casino; Opponents' Lawsuits Haven't Let Up

Categories: Court Date

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."

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Looks like the natives turned the tables on the pale faces and outfoxed them at their own game. Give it up Glendale, you lost. Embrace the casino and you'll make out better in the end.


Not only does the government need to rule in favor of the Tohono O'odham Nation, but the US Government needs to make good on ALL of its treaties with American Indian tribes.  It is time this nation gives them their 100% due, especially since it has no problem spending over $50 BILLION of taxpayer money in foreign aid annually.


On the other hand why did the TON not explicitly state during the compact negotiations that it wanted a casino on ANY selected replacement lands. It would have been clear upfront. It seems TON is playing as dirty as Glendale and GRIC? And why did TON secretly buy the land thru a straw party--why not buy it up front and state what they wanted. They have known since 87 that they were going to buy replacement land somewhere? But Poof! We got land next to a pro football stadium, not in the middle of nowhere near Gila Bend. Plenty of shading dealing went on there, Ned.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Note to City of Glendale: The resort and casino fits in well with your other plans. It'll be a win-win for all concerned. Save money and drop the lawsuit.

Note to the other tribes: There's at least room for one more. You might want to build some golf courses instead of getting in the TO's way.

Note to Trent Franks: Why don't you go and bother D.C. on gay marriage, f'rinstance? That will enhance you rep as a total dick. Oh, and did I mention that it's a cryin' shame that you survived childhood?

ExpertShot topcommenter

Gila River IC has probably guaranteed their Casino Management Company that no new casinos would open in the Phoenix area and therefore they are afraid of the impact on their contracts with that company.  There's probably a clause in the GRIC contracts which includes a large penalty if there are any further Casino openings in the Phoenix area and that's why they're fighting so hard - paying attorneys is probably a WHOLE Lot cheaper than paying their Casino Management Company the penalty.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@ReggieVV Straw purchasers are often used to prevent the sales price for a piece of land from increasing simply because of who the purchaser is.  I rarely agree to sell to a law firm, a special interest organization or someone similar for this very reason.

From whom are you less likely to demand a higher sales price, Mary Jane Smith who is looking for a house to move into; or, MegaDevelopment Corporation who is buying up your entire neighborhood in order to put in high rise high end multipurpose development?

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault