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Judge rejects challenge to Rohnert Park Indian casino project

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April 24, 2009

ROHNERT PARK, CA - U.S. District Judge Susan Illston rejected a lawsuit filed by Stop the Casino 101 Coalition aimed at stopping construction of a $1 billion Indian casino. The casino will be located on the west side of Rohnert Park and have 2,000 slot machines and a 300-room hotel.

The suit was filed last June against the U.S. Department of Interior challenging its decision to take 254 acres of land into federal trust for the Federated Graton Rancheria.

Judge Illston ruled the plaintiff lacked standing to file the suit because it "failed to establish that they have suffered a procedural injury."

Marilee Montgomery, a group spokeswoman, said the casino opponents will appeal the decision claiming it was based on a "technicality". The group will also file another suit in federal court challenging the adequacy of an environmental impact report on the proposed casino.

Greg Sarris, the Graton Rancheria tribal chairman, said Wednesday the tribe was pleased with judge's ruling and "honors the opportunity for all members of the community to address their concerns regarding Graton Rancheria."

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