- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A northern New Mexico tribe has accused state gaming officials of holding a closed-door meeting to plot out ways to stop its casino operations.

The Pojoaque Pueblo complained to the state Attorney General’s Office late last week, accusing the state Gaming Control Board of illegally holding a closed door meeting on their gaming activities.

The July 15 meeting violated the Open Meetings Act because board members were allegedly strategizing about “how to retaliate against the vendors and manufacturers who do business with the Pueblo’s gaming operations,” according to pueblo officials.

Pojoaque Gov. Joseph Talachy accused the gaming board Friday of sending intimidating letters to casino vendors. According to Talachy, the letters made it sound like vendors could lose their licenses because of the U.S. attorney’s supposed stance on casino operations. As a result, one vendor has already wavered about doing business.

“They won’t come right out and say, ‘We aren’t going to license you if you are doing business with the pueblo.’ They know they can’t assert jurisdiction in Indian Country,” Talachy said. “It’s an unfair way of trying to shut our casino down as we are planning our case.”

Board acting executive director Donovan Lieurance said denied the allegations Friday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (https://bit.ly/1MA7AMi ).

Attorney General’s Office spokesman James Hallinan said Friday the office found there was sufficient information to open an investigation into whether a violation took place. A violation could cost a fine up to $500. But Hallinan said it’s more likely that educating public entities on how to avoid violations would be the penalty.

Pojoaque has filed a lawsuit in federal court, asking that state gambling regulators be prohibited from taking any action against licensed vendors who do business with the tribe. The lawsuit is the latest in a legal battle between the Martinez administration and the tribe, which let its gambling compact with the state lapse at the end of June.

Other tribes signed on to new agreements, but Talachy has argued that the agreement would amount to an illegal tax.

Pojoaque walked away from compact talks in 2013, saying the state wasn’t negotiating in good faith. The tribe had sought a compact under which the gambling age would be lowered from 21 to 18, alcohol would be allowed on the casino floor and revenue sharing with the state would end.

Negotiators for the Martinez administration have argued those provisions would fly in the face of attempts to create a more socially responsible system and one that would provide stability for New Mexico’s gambling market in the future.

Under federal law, tribes must have compacts with the state if they want to operate casinos.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide