Those opposing a proposed casino on Rohnert Park’s northwest boundary have been encouraged by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that goes in their favor. The ruling made on Monday allowed maximum time of six years instead of just 30 days for anybody to sue the government. In fact, the Graton Rancheria property was taken into trust in 2010 by the Secretary of the Interior. Consequently the right of a Michigan man to sue the federal government was defended by the court’s decision in the case of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak. Mike Healy, a Petaluma councilman exclaimed the event as a large victory. Mr. Healy has created a lawsuit for Stop the Casino 101 group against the casino.
The agreement made between the state and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria was sued by the group. Healy said that one more lawsuit against the federal government is in the pipeline that would come up soon. Despite the lawsuit, Stop the Casino 101’s request for stopping the work for the casino was turned down by the Sonoma County Superior Court Judge, Elliot Daum. Indian law experts opine that the decision of the Supreme Court has given large time for the opponents to pursue the case for stopping the casino project on the 254 acres, south of Home Depot.
Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, a partner at Snell & Wilmer Indian and Gaming Law Practice in Phoenix commented that it would take many years for the decision to come on the merits of the Patchak case. Till that time the Graton Casino would almost be ready in all respects and the court may not go against it in such a situation. She added that it would be a difficult process to go in for shutting down the casino from the equities standpoint.