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Amador Supervisors Deadlocked on Me-Wuk Casino

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March 6, 2008

JACKSON, CA - Amador County supervisors were deadlocked 2-2 vote with one abstention Tuesday about accepting a settlement proposal by the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians to build a casino in Ione.

The Me-Wuk had offered the county $18 million and $8 million a year to end its lawsuit against the casino. The offer also included reimbursement to the county of $1.4 million it has already spent in legal fees.

The next step for the county is to continue its lawsuit which has languished for 3 years in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. The next step for the tribe is to consider arbitration. To win in arbitration the county must win an injunction in the federal court.

A tribe spokesman, Ryan Rauzon, said "The tribe is going to weigh its options and wait to make its decision. Arbitration is costly and it's formal. It becomes a completely different discussion. It's the tribe's view that it's better to reach an agreement."

Amador County currently has one casino, the Jackson Rancheria with 1524 slot machines. The Me-Wuk casino would be the second casino with 950 slots and 20 gaming tables. A third casino is in the planning stages for Plymouth.

In 2005 county resident passed a non-binding ballot measure by 85 percent to ban future casinos. Now board chairman, Richard Forster, may ask voters to raise sales taxes to help finance the court battles to block the new casinos.

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