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Federal Judge Keeps Chukchansi Casino Closed

Ezra David Romero
Valley Public Radio

Today a federal judge in Fresno issued a preliminary injunction to keep Chukchansi Gold and Resort casino closed.

During a morning hearing prior to issuing the order to keep the casino closed, federal judge Lawrence O’Neil says there’s been little to no progress made by the split factions.

The Chukchansi Gold and Resort casino has been closed for nearly three weeks after security forces from one of the factions tried to take over the casino. State and federal authorities ordered the closure after the escalating fight between the two split factions, the McDonald and Lewis-Ayala groups.

The ongoing dispute has escalated into the alleged loss of millions of dollars, a missing audit and the control of the tribe’s main source of income.

Outside the courthouse, the spokesman for Tex McDonald, David Leibowitz says they weren’t surprised by the judge’s order.

Leibowitz: “The judge obviously remains concerned about public safety. I don’t think any of us walked into court today thinking the judge was going to reopen the casino, he wouldn’t have the power to do that anyway because we’re operating under a closure from the NIGC.”

The injunction also restricts any further attempts to take over the casino.

Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.
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