The big news around Rohnert Park these days is the coming of a casino that's said to bring millions of dollars of revenue for the city and schools in Rohnert Park.
But now an allegation has sprung up that the agreement -- a memorandum of understanding that addresses the impacts of the casino on the city -- between Federation Indian of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) and the city is invalid.
Stop the Casino 101 Coalition said that all construction needs to be stopped and they have filed a court complaint alleging that the gambling compact awarded to the tribe behind the casino is invalid because it is contingent on an agreement that doesn't exist between the city and the tribe.
According to this story in the Press Democrat, the tribe originally had planned the construction of the casino on lands that overlap with the current 254-acre Wilfred Avenue reservation. But the actual location of where construction recently began is not where they tribe stipulated it would be in an existing agreement with the city.
The group that's against the casino said because the location is off, the MOU is invalid and the construction is being done illegally.
In the Press Democrat's story, city officials said are planning to address this issue, at a future time. However, Stop the Casino 101 Coalition is demanding an injunction against the construction of the casino until the matter can be sorted out.
According to a Stop the Casino 101 press release:
The issue of the invalid MOU was raised in the Second Amended Complaint in Stop the Casino 101 Coalition v. Governor Jerry Brown that was filed July 31. Attorney for the Plaintiffs Michael Healy sent a letter and a copy of the Press Democrat article to Deputy Attorney General Bill Williams today advising them of this admission by the City.
In his letter, Mr., Healy says, "The lack of an effective MOU between the City of Rohnert Park also means that the Compact is not yet in effect and that the current construction activity is illegal. Please advise at your earliest opportunity what steps your client intends to take to halt this illegal activity, so as to avoid the necessity of further law and motion practice.""
"We are calling upon the Governor's office to do what they are required to do, and shut down casino construction now, " said Pastor Chip Worthington, founder of Stop the Casino 101 Coalition (STC101), one of the Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state gambling compact passed in May. "No agreement means no compact means no casino."
"The City knew they had no agreement, the FIGR knew they had no agreement and the Governor's office knew there was no agreement, but they let the compact go forward anyway, and just hoped no one would notice," he said. "Well, we noticed."
"This is unconscionable behavior. The future of our community is at risk, and our government officials are acting like Las Vegas mobsters. From top to bottom, this is a betrayal of the voters' trust."
STC101 has already requested an injunction to stop casino construction in its Second Amended Complaint, but a date for the hearing has not yet been set.
Now we place the question up to the readers of Rohnert Park Patch. Does Stop the Casino 101 have a point? Or are they just delaying the inevitable? Do you support a casino in Rohnert Park?
Tell us in the comments.