We’re Shocked! There’s Gambling Corruption in Arizona?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), reacting to the evidence filed recently with the U.S. District Court of Arizona as part of the litigation involving the Tohono O’odham Nation for violating the gaming compact with the State of Arizona, today released the following statement:

“It is clear now that the intent to pursue an illegal casino by the Tohono O’odham Nation in Glendale had been in their plans as early as 1989 and certainly during the gaming compact negotiations of Prop. 202. The detailed evidence filed with the court shows that the Tohono O’odham Nation was publicly negotiating and agreeing to gaming compact terms along side all other Arizona tribes; promising to keeping the number of casinos in the Phoenix-Metro area to no more than seven, while secretly auditing various sites in the Phoenix-metro area for a casino. These new facts unveil a deceptive plan that betrayed the trust of Arizona’s other Indian communities and disregarded commitments made to Arizona’s voters.”

“When I introduced H.R.2938—an earnest attempt to settle this issue for good, preventing the Tohono O’odham Nation from misusing the Gila Bend Act to open an off-reservation casino more than 100 miles from their tribal lands—state, tribal and local leaders agreed it was the right thing to do. Now we know that our efforts to prevent the Tohono O’odham Nation from building a casino in Glendale are all the more justified. If the Nation prevails in their efforts it will be a reward for bad behavior and a total disregard for the many people who worked openly and honestly on Prop 202—tribal leaders, elected officials, business leaders and community members—and a disservice to the thousands of voters who passed it into law.”

The Statement of Facts for the case

The State of Arizona; The Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community v. The Tohono O’odham Nation, Case No. 2:11-cv-00296-DGC is available to the public at the United States District Court For the District of Arizona. The materials can be accessed via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. The 55-page Statement of Facts is comprised of more than 200 pieces of evidence documenting the deception—meeting notes, depositions, transcripts from recorded meetings etc.  The secret actions by the Nation are organized chronologically starting in 1989 and begin on page 42. Among the last entries is a comment in 2003 from a Nation Chairwoman who according to the document, ‘believed any attempt to place a casino in the Phoenix area “would be a political battle” because the Nation had agreed that when it built a fourth casino it would be “nowhere near Phoenix.”

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