FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST OPPONENTS OF WILTON RANCHERIA PROJECT
The Wilton Rancheria Tribe issued the following press release regarding the judge’s decision:
Washington, D.C., court denies Stand Up for California access to
documents in its long-running campaign to stall or stop The Tribe’s planned resort and casino.
ELK GROVE, CA—Jan. 23—In yet another legal setback for opponents of Wilton Rancheria’s resort and casino project, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden has rejected efforts by Stand Up for California to force production of privileged documents in its long-running campaign to use the courts to stall or stop the planned development. In his order of January 16, Judge McFadden determined that Stand Up had failed to show that certain documents were not subject to the attorney-client privilege.
Financed by wealthy card rooms and other gaming interests, Stand Up has waged multiple unsuccessful legal challenges to the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision and authority to place land into federal trust for the Tribe. Last February, Judge McFadden strongly rejected Stand Up’s claim on the lack of authority. Thirty-six acres of land in Elk Grove were taken into trust on behalf of Wilton Rancheria on February 10, 2017, by the Department of the Interior.
“The court has already ruled against Stand Up for California and in favor of Interior’s decision to place our Tribal land into federal trust,” said Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock. “This is Stand Up’s latest desperate attempt to delay or derail a project that will create thousands of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the city and give our members a path to self-sufficiency. Our Tribe was landless for nearly six
decades and, finally, we have the opportunity to create a brighter future for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”
Last October, the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) signed and approved the management agreement between Wilton Rancheria and Boyd Gaming to build a resort and casino on the Tribe’s trust land in Elk Grove. This approval followed adoption of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 2016 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), a lengthy and thorough process that spanned several years with extensive public input.
In July 2017, Governor Jerry Brown and Chairman Hitchcock signed a Tribal/State Gaming Compact, which was ratified unanimously by the State Senate and Assembly in September. The following January, the Department of the Interior published in the Federal Register notice of its approval of the gaming compact.
Wilton Rancheria’s tribal status was terminated in 1958, and the Tribe was finally restored, without land, in 2009, after a long-fought campaign by tribal elders. Wilton Rancheria is the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. In November 2011, the Tribe adopted its modern Constitution, and since that time, tribal leadership has worked to improve the lives of its members and positively serve the community from
its offices in Elk Grove.