Fire Mountain Casino construction delayed after United Auburn Tribe filed an appeal

By Cheyenne Dickerson | Oct 30, 2016

SACRAMENTO – The United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria has filed an appeal in California's 3rd District Court of Appeal regarding the approval of the Enterprise Rancheria Fire Mountain Casino to continue construction outside of Sacramento.

As a result, construction has been suspended.

“The tribes with competitive gaming facilities are bringing litigation towards the Enterprise Rancheria tribe to slow the construction process down,” John Mayer, representative attorney for Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians, told the Northern California Record.

This comment was made following the California Governor’s ruling to allow the development of Indian casinos. The Enterprise of Rancheria Maidu Indians broke ground earlier this spring on their new Fire Mountain Casino located outside of Marysville, California, in Yuba County near Thundery Valley Casino Resort. The facility is owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria. Recently, United Auburn filed an appeal motion to invert the motion to allow Enterprise Rancheria to build. As this appeal has taken precedence, Mayer told the Northern California Record the tribe is facing “suspended construction.”

Fire Mountain Casino, similar to Thunder Valley Casino Resort, would be located on the outskirts of Sacramento and not on Indian land given before the Indian Gaming Act of 1988. Both tribes have similarities in terms of how they acquired their casino lands. In 2011, Enterprise Rancheria underwent the two-part decision under Section 20, which allows tribes to ask for new land with a direct approval from the state governor and interest groups.

This type of legal action, while lengthy in nature, also requires additional time and costs for the tribes. Since 1988, only a number of tribes have withheld action. Another way tribes can apply for new land is to go through a restored lands legal action. This process is what United Auburn took when acquiring their current casino land.

This effort, which is much less difficult than the two-part determination, allows for fewer documents, applications and legal actions to be taken.

 In both cases, these Indian casinos will not only boost growth in the surrounding communities, but will allow for vacant land to be used for the well-being of the state. Also supportive of this new casino measure are local and state governments, Mayer said. 

“The casino will bring jobs and economic development to the tribe and the larger surrounding area," he said.

Doug Elments, representative for the United Auburn tribe, told the Northern California Record this week that the tribe is reviewing the ruling.

 “The United Auburn Indian Community is assessing the ruling,” Elments told the Northern California Record this week.

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