"Both parties had substantial interests at stake and were well-represented during negotiations," the judge wrote.

Yet, to fuel opposition and to overcome such unfavorable legal rulings, foes — ironically even opposing tribal leaders — have taken a page out of the 1990s playbook of anti-gaming state officials, including former Governor Fife Symington and ex-Arizona Department of Gaming Director Gary Husk.

Husk warned the public in 1996 that an "eruption of Las Vegas-style gambling" would result if gaming was allowed to take root in the state. Fifteen years gone by, and Husk's prediction hasn't come true.

An artist's rendering of the Tohono O'odham Nation's West Valley Resort.
An artist's rendering of the Tohono O'odham Nation's West Valley Resort.
The West Valley Resort is slated for vacant land near University of Phoenix Stadium.
Monica Alonzo
The West Valley Resort is slated for vacant land near University of Phoenix Stadium.

But to demonize the Tohono O'odham, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Diane Enos told a newspaper in 2011 that approving the West Valley Resort would be the first step toward statewide gaming, asking: "Do we really want Las Vegas-style gaming in Arizona?"

Tribal opponents long have abandoned the bows, arrows, and sharpened clubs once used to attack neighboring tribes. These days, they wage war against their native brethren with lobbyists, lawyers, and lawmakers.

But their attorneys haven't made convincing arguments. And although their lobbyists have pressed lawmakers to gin up and support legislation to accomplish what they've been unable to, the bills floated — mainly by Representative Franks — haven't gained traction.

Choice land and natural resources aren't at stake in modern-day wars over expanded gaming, taking place in Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington, as well as in Arizona. Instead, in this state, the spoils are a share of the $1.8 billion in annual gross revenues that 23 Arizona casinos generate each year.


Glendale still is mired in lawsuits against the Tohono O'odham, but the shift in its official view of the pending casino is interesting given its former leaders' reluctance to even meet with tribal decision-makers.

By Glendale's tally, it has paid more than $3.5 million in fees to lawyers, lobbyists, and public relations firms in its vain attempt to shut down the Nation's plan. And now there no longer may be majority opposition on its City Council.

Councilwoman Norma Alvarez, a casino supporter, was elected in 2011. Two years later, Glendale voters elected two more casino advocates: councilmen Sammy Chavira and Ian Hugh. A 4-3 split against the Nation seems on the verge of a flip now that Councilman Gary Sherwood, who opposed the casino during his 2012 campaign for office and is the swing vote on the issue, is amenable to hearing from the tribe about ways it can team up with the city.

"We're hurting for money. But even if we didn't have a deficit, any opportunity that we have to bring in revenue to lessen our tax burdens or to provide . . . better services, we need to look at," he says. "That's what we're supposed to be all about."

Glendale's top administrators, public-safety staff, and elected officials have met with the Nation, including at their Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson. Some of the suggestions under consideration are the Nation's imposing a casino bed tax on hotel rooms that would go to the city. Or, the tribe's adjusting the layout of the casino to face bars, restaurants, and retail shops in the city's nearby sports-and-entertainment district. Or, the Nation's covering expenses for city sewer and water lines and police and fire protection.

The Nation notes that it has similar agreements in place in Tucson, where it operates two gaming centers. It has a small casino in Why, and its desire for a fourth dates back several decades.

Congress passed a law in 1986 granting the Tohono O'odham permission to buy nearly 10,000 acres in Maricopa, Pinal, or Pima counties to replace reservation land lost to flooding in the Gila Bend area.

The Painted Rock Dam, built downstream from the reservation in 1960 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers to protect farming communities in southern Arizona, caused water to back up and flood Nation land during the 1970s and '80s. Two decades later, the tribe found a piece of prime real estate — the 134-acre unincorporated parcel near the current sites of the Phoenix Coyotes' hockey arena, the Arizona Cardinals' football stadium, and Westgate, an entertainment district in which Glendale has invested hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The tribe bought the land through a company with no apparent Tohono O'odham ties and quietly sat on it for six years. In January 2009, an announcement by the Nation that it intended to build the state's largest resort-style casino on the acreage was met with immediate opposition from certain leaders representing cities and the state.

Dick Bowers, a former Scottsdale city manager who temporarily served as Glendale city manager, advised the Glendale council in an April 2013 memo that it would be wise to establish a friendly relationship with the Tohono O'odham.

"If the casino never gets built, the relationship will be positive. If it is built, the relationship will be imperative," he wrote.

Bowers' viewpoint was influenced by his years-long dealings with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and its Scottsdale-area casinos — Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort.

"The casinos on tribal land are a valuable component of the hospitality offering in Scottsdale," he wrote. "We must seek ways to advantage Glendale by the proximity to the resort and its guests."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
jeanjb
jeanjb

i miss gov mary thomas

kevinklein801
kevinklein801

Isn't it ironic that as the government entities arguments against this project get struck down time after time in court; that they are now falling back on a argument that basically says, "the tribe is breaking its promise"?  Seems broken promises sting both ways.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

The Gila River Indian Community is contractually required to indemnify their Casino Management Company and defend it's profit guarantee they granted it in their contracts.  They HAVE to pursue the Tohono O'odohm to not open that casino in Glendale.  If they didn't they'd have to pay all sorts of premiums to whatever slimeball casino management company they have out in Gila River.


devilsbeatwildcats
devilsbeatwildcats

This is just a delay tactic by the COG, Gila Monsters & Salty's for the Super Bowl revenue. All three tribes are decent descendants of the Hohokam's who were the original settlers in south central Arizona. Both tribes do not need casino revenue to spoil there people with free utilities, housing, etc... They can cash it in by leasing their land for development to European Americans.

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

    Shout out to Santa R0sa >>> "bouncin' on twenty fo's" ....."sippin' on coke and rum , i'm like so what I'm drunk" - R KELLY IGNITION...

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

If I were GILA RIVER , I would try to work out some sort of  deal with TO NATION ...TO has the law ,the money .the lawyers and patience to win...

mrwally373
mrwally373

I think the real reason the casino has not at this point been approved,...is the Gila People who operate in the west valley, they don't want the competition...they opened another hotel on their properties, and with a casino opening in Glendale would take ALOT of the casino customers away.

TaxpayingVoter
TaxpayingVoter

The people who spend REAL money consistently in casinos tend to change it up and move from one to another in a single night.


There is room for another casino up there and the community would benefit.


This whole situation really makes the Gila River community look bad and it saddens me.

serpico1000
serpico1000

Is this another card playing deal from the major government players? for the entire picture here is that since the local governments can not fight then turn the table on these tribal players?? 

Laura Antonuccio
Laura Antonuccio

Are you kidding me with this photo? A red faced slot machine wearing a headdress, covered in arrows, tomahawks and a teepee? No one should have to tell you how offensive this is.

davewk2002
davewk2002

I have worked on  the reservations involved  and have worked at an elementary school near the stadium in Glendale.  This dispute is about greed.  I believe that the casino would be a positive source of jobs for the west valley and would benefit the Tohono O'odham. I had the privilege to attend a Thanksgiving lunch at a school on the Salt River Reservation a few years ago when a tribal leader offered a prayer before the meal.  I was humbled by the words he spoke and it was clear that he held deeper respect for this land and for Arizona than the rest of us whose families might have been here only 100 years.  


To the tribe:  Look to your traditions to settle your dispute. Learn to share; you will all benefit.  There is plenty.  Do not be too quick to adopt attorneys to settle disputes among yourselves.  Use attorneys for disputes with others.  Be very careful of the White men that you are dealing with here.  They have their own interests at heart.


To those in Glendale who are offended by the casino:  Get over it!  These people are more honest in their dealings with others than you are.  Until your families have lived in this valley for 500 or more years you should be considered their guests.  These people were here before the Spanish and lived here long before this was part of Mexico or the United States.  Stop this nonsense; you should be ashamed of your actions.  There is much you could learn from the Tohono O'odham that would enrich your lives if you spend time with these people. 

Pakrat4ever
Pakrat4ever

What the other tribes are saying is the same things the Republicans are saying: We got ours screw the rest of your indians friends.  Once opposing tribes start pumping money into the politicians campaigns and the cities coffers that are opposed to letting the Tohono O'odham open their casino, it's pretty plain, the other tribes don't want their Brothers to reap the rewards of having a casino of their own.  It basically called Greed.  Yes, the O'odham casino will take a bite out of the other casino's profits. I see buses loading up in Sun City heading for the long trip to the other casino's.  But I feel the Tohono O'odham tribes should still have the right that the other tribes have to make a profit and help their people.  What's fair to one tribe, should be fair for all.  Yes, the Indians are still at war with their Brothers and now it's all about the Almighty Dollar, and Yes, they've dropped their bows, arrows and lances; and now the lawyers and politicians are reaping their rewards by fighting for the money; I'll bet they hope the situation goes on forever. I support the Tohono O'odham tribe in their quest for equal Casino representation.

pat029
pat029

This is just a issue that should be done by the indians and not by this rag this a newspaper thats just  yellow news paper every thing the sheriff  found was all correct . and just because you fond a cropt judge and had the board of supervisor that you paid off  you got off but leave the Indians alone and Frank Trent is as bad as flake and just as money hungry  just leave them alone.

jpnightrain
jpnightrain

What?!? The TOs broke their promise to the white eye to not build a casino in the Phoenix area?  I'm shocked, shocked, I say, since the WEs would never break a promise to them. LOL

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

It would be interesting to know just what is Trent Franks' angle in the ongoing controversy about a new casino in Glendale. It is very hard to imagine that he is concerned with the well-being of area residents, much less the plight of the T.O. Nation. Is his involvement all about paybacks from the Gila River Indian Community? That wouldn't surprise me at all.

donnied1
donnied1

Get off the booze and drugs, and try hard to focus! Orherwise, shut the fuck up. You embarrass yourself...

marcy
marcy

@eric.nelson745  

Trent's angle is $$$$ as in the thousands of dollars poured into his campaign coffers by the Gila River community.


Trent likes to talk about free enterprise but when push comes to shove, he'll go with the money every time.

logicman
logicman

@eric.nelson745  a congressman worried about the well-being of area residents?!?!?  HAHAHAHHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...