Murky dealings involving casino tribe, California governments

Murky dealings-involving-casino-tribe-california-governments

A California corporation that was created in a manner that conceals the identity of its members filed a new lawsuit against the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. This is the second time that the county's vote on Supervisor Kevin Crye could be impacted by a lawsuit pertaining to an agreement with the Redding Rancheria Indian tribe.

The California Land Stewardship Council filed the lawsuit against the board on February 13, 2024. The board voted illegally, according to the lawsuit, on a services agreement with the Redding Rancheria.

The current board majority struck the deal last July, and the lawsuit claims that it "gave away millions of dollars of public funds" by approving a services agreement for the Tribe's new casino site through a process that disregarded important county staff members' recommendations, did not include enough cost analysis, and did not follow county policies.

The California Land Stewardship Council is an LLC that was incorporated just eight days before the lawsuit was filed, through an incorporation process that essentially shields the identities of those behind the suit. The corporate filing for the organization lists a San Francisco attorney as the signatory for the 1505 corporation. California’s business registry lists names with the same Sacramento address as that of Corporation Service Company, which provide various business filing services. The lawsuit states that at least one of the parties to the action resides in Shasta County.

Page 2 of 2024-02-13 California Land Stewardship’s Writ Petition

Read the full lawsuit here

In a sharply-worded press release, the Redding Rancheria—which is not listed as a party in the lawsuit but will be affected by its resolution—blasted the legal action, branding it dishonest and politically motivated and claiming that it seems designed more to impact the upcoming Shasta County elections than seeking any legal remedy.

The complaint was filed just a few weeks before a Shasta County primary election, which included votes on two of the supervisors who supported the Rancheria services deal. It appears that the Rancheria is making reference to this timing. The complaint over the Rancheria pact was filed only a few weeks before the March primaries, even though the board approved it in July 2023.

The Redding Rancheria has contributed to the political campaigns of Supervisors Tim Garman, Kevin Crye, and Patrick Jones; all three supported the Rancheria's services agreement with the county. Supervisor Chris Kelstrom supported the Rancheria's services agreement by voting as well, but the Tribe did not support him in his campaign for supervisor, choosing instead to support Baron Browning.

In the election scheduled for March 5, voters' ballots will feature both Crye and Jones. Jones is up for reelection in the county's District 4 while Crye is up for recall in the county's District 1. The latest suit's allegations largely mirror those of the recall movement, which has criticized the current board majority—including Crye and Jones—for what it claims has been a year of careless and dangerous decision-making.

The Strawberry Fields, a tract of unincorporated county land owned by the Tribe and long-proposed as the location of the Tribe's new casino, are the subject of the board's agreement with the Rancheria.

Remarkably, the Rancheria's continuous ambitions to construct a casino on the land served as the impetus for a different lawsuit in 2019 that the Tribe brought against the City of Redding. The court decided in the Rancheria's favor in that instance. The judge's decision included evidence from the court that revealed the Redding city manager had secretly negotiated a parcel of city land next to the proposed casino site with A. A. "Red" Emmerson, the owner of Sierra Pacific Industries and one of the country's biggest landowners. By removing a crucial path for casino traffic, the sale of that little parcel of land to Emmerson—whose private property is situated close to the new casino site—effectively prevented the Tribe from expanding. The land contract with Emmerson had to be canceled by the city as per the court's order.


“It’s Unclear Who’s Behind New Lawsuit Against Shasta County Board Over Rancheria Agreement” , Annelise Pierce,, February 24, 2024.


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