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Amador Supervisors Consider Settlement for New Casino

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February 27, 2008

JACKSON, CA - Amador County supervisors are considering a financial settlement with the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians to allow the tribe to build a casino in the small community of Ione, about 40 miles southeast of Sacramento.

After voters approved a 2005 ballot measure by 85% to ban new casinos, the county supervisors filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the Ione casino project. Their case has languished for three years and its outcome is uncertain. Now the supervisors are considering a settlement offered by the tribe to drop the lawsuit. In exchange the county will immediately receive $18 million plus $8 million annually. The tribe will also reimburse the county for its $1.4 million in legal expenses, pay $150,000 annually to gambling and substance abuse programs, pay the city of Ione $1 million annually, pay the Amador County Unified School District a lump sum of $93,000, and buy the county a new fire engine.

The Amador County Board of Supervisors are sharply divided on this issue and will meet next week to decide their action. If they approve the settlement, they may face recalls by the voters. If they disapprove and continue their lawsuit, the offer goes away and the outcome may not be favorable.

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