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Judge Rules Chukchansi Casino Closed For At Least Two More Weeks

Ezra David Romero
Valley Public Radio

The federal judge who issued the temporary closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold last week ruled Wednesday that the operation will remain closed for at least until the end of the month.

“I think this is a victory for the Chukchansi people, in that the casino will be allowed to be opened and status quo will be maintained.”" says Richard Verri an attorney representing the tribal council established in 2010.

"We have to come to meditation to resolve the issues that are really going on." - Vernon King

The judge ruled on three key issues: Weapons are no longer allowed on the reservation, except for law enforcement; the faction that attempted the armed takeover isn’t allowed to go back into the casino; and employees are allowed to go in and account for the possible $10 million dollars left in the building.

Credit Security video from Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
Surveillance video shows the violent raid at the casino on Oct. 9.

Vernon King is the treasurer for the McDonald faction that attempted the takeover Thursday. He says he’d like to see the tribal row end peacefully.

“We have to come to meditation to resolve the issues that are really going on," King says. "Meaning that we get these 1500 people back to work so they can support their families, get the money back out to the tribe so they can take care of their families and pay our obligations.”

The factions have until Friday at noon to agree on a time for a mandatory settlement conference. Both sides will file motions next week and a second hearing will be held Oct. 29.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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