Colusa casino sues to stop new gaming center
The Indian community operating the Colusa Casino Resort has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Enterprise Rancheria casino project in Yuba County.
Filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, the suit by the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians states allowing the casino to move forward would violate federal law and severely affect the Colusa Casino’s viability.
“Based on empirical evidence from other casinos that have opened in plaintiff's market, the Colusa tribal government will lose approximately half of its revenues,” the suit states. “The decline in revenue will lead to massive layoffs and declines in tribal governmental and tribal member incomes.
“It will also lead to a diminishment of services provided by the tribal, city, and county governments to their citizens' health, welfare, and education.”
George Forman, an attorney with the San Rafael-based law firm representing Cachil Dehe, said a required Environmental Impact Statement for Enterprise Rancheria didn’t take those concerns into account.
“The Department of the Interior has to go through the process of consulting with local governments and local Indian tribes,” said Forman, of Forman & Associates. “Colusa was never consulted at all.”
He also said responses to questions raised in the EIS weren’t answered by the federal government as required, but by a paid consultant working for the Estom Yumeka Maidu, the sponsoring tribe for Enterprise Rancheria.
The suit seeks to stop the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, part of the Department of the Interior, from allowing the land to be taken into trust.
Federal officials filed a 30-day notice on Dec. 3 of their intent to allow that move to take place early next month.
Representatives for Enterprise Rancheria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition to Colusa, other Indian casinos operating in the area include two in Oroville, one near Rocklin, one outside Woodland, one in Corning and several in the Clearlake area.