Archive » August 31, 2007
By SYVJ Staff
Section 2.8 of Tribal Gaming Compact:
Tribal Gaming Compact section 2.8 defines a “gaming facility” as:
“…all rooms, buildings, and areas, including parking lots and walkways, a principal purpose of which is to serve the activity of the gaming operations…”
Off Reservation Properties Used to Support the Gaming Facility:
In 2006 and 2007, the Santa Ynez Band purchased multiple developed properties. These are off-reservation, fee-titled properties. They are the Royal Scandinavian Inn (RSI), Federicos, and McCormix Gas Station.
The Santa Ynez Band has publicly stated in newspapers and in other publications that the Royal Scandinavian Inn and the Federicos property will be used to support their gaming facility:
(Please Note: Any reference to "Casino Resort guests" or "Resort guests" are gambling patrons at the Chumash Casino.)
Statements Regarding the Purchase of the Royal Scandinavian Inn:
Chumash Magazine, Spring 2007 Edition:
”A key strategy in purchasing the RSI centered on ensuring that guests visiting the Chumash Casino had someplace to stay, should they decide to spend the night or weekend. With only 106 rooms, the Chumash Casino Resort currently runs at 100 [percent] occupancy on the weekends and 85 [percent] on weekdays."
"The addition of the RSI to the Chumash family adds 133 more rooms, allowing Resort management the option of offering Resort guests two properties."
"Tribal spokeswoman Frances Snyder said the inn will provide additional rooms for Chumash Casino Resort guests."
Santa Ynez Valley Journal published Santa Ynez General Council Meeting Tribal Minutes, April 18, 2007:
"We need three to four hundred hotel rooms on permanent basis. A conservative estimate of impact on revenue would be between 20 and 40 million dollars a year in additional revenue to the Casino. Our request would be to evaluate some properties and get approval to tie them up subject to approval by the Tribe and subject to due diligence, appraisals, etc. This makes sense for the business and is a way to grow the business as we are limited in increasing revenue by the supply of hotel rooms we have."
"The hotel rooms are somewhere in the 15 to 40 million dollar range depending on how much you can acquire. We think the returns is somewhere in the 20 to 40 percent range based upon the gaming. Our assumption is that we could fill about 75 [percent] of the rooms with gamblers worth about $250 per night."
"The 'A' player is $800 and above, 'B' is between $500 and $800 and the 'C' player is between $250 and $500 a day. A typical casino visit is 6 hours. If you take a typical visit and add a hotel room, you get two days from the guest. Hotels make money on an average room rate of $120-$150 per room. Mr. Brents believes we could add significant incremental value to that. The hospitality industry in the valley should be controlled by the Tribe."
Statements Regarding The Purchase Of Federico’s:
Santa Ynez Valley News, Nov. 11, 2006:
"The Chumash Casino Resort is moving forward with plans to convert the former Federico's restaurant into office space. Set to be renamed the Chumash Employee Resource Center, the 15,000-square-foot property at 585 McMurray Road in Buellton will house Chumash University training for supervisors, human resources, accounting and employee interviews/hiring."
"Frances Snyder, the tribe's spokeswoman, cited the building's central location to Highways 101 and 246, its parking spaces and interior space as reasons why the site was chosen."
"About 25 to 35 employees will work at the site with one to two classes a week for 20-35 employees...In May, the Planning Commission approved a shuttle bus stop for employees and guests. The shuttle operates daily for 24 hours with a stop every hour. There are 142 parking on site spaces."
Santa Ynez General Council Meeting Tribal Minutes, Feb. 21, 2006:
"It is a 15,000 square foot building plus a restaurant. It has 144 parking spaces which are critical to us."
"We think it is a strong piece of property for the tribe and a strong holding in the long term and will add revenue right away to the Casino."
Control the Hospitality Industry, Parking, Conversion of
On-Reservation Non-Gaming Space to Gaming Space:
Further, tribal minutes document the tribe’s intent to control the hospitality industry, support their gaming operation with off site parking, and convert on reservation non-gaming space (currently used for office/administrative) to gaming space by moving the office/administrative areas off the reservation (Federicos):
Santa Ynez General Council Meeting Tribal Minutes: Feb. 21, 2006:
"The Hospitality industry in the valley should be controlled by the Tribe."
"For our current needs, we need additional hotel rooms especially on weekends. We need additional off site parking. We are looking at something with training and employment center"
"The hotel guest average daily worth to the property, given the limited rooms we have, is about $1,100 per visit. We are currently looking at the possibility of acquiring blocks of rooms to put guests up in because we just don't have enough."
"We believe the revenue contribution is between $20-$30 million annually. As the rooms get farther from the property, the value of the guest to the enterprise decreases but it is estimated the value of every one hundred rooms is between $7- $10 million in annual revenue to our organization."
OFF SITE PARKING: "Currently we are renting spaces in
OFF SITE TRAINING: "We think we would like to have a more one stop shopping for the employment process so that you apply for a job, you are interviewed, and you receive your training off property. It is a low value use of the space because it is really for gaming and gaming related activity. We could actually convert non-gaming space to gaming space.”
Defining “Gaming Facilities” And “Gaming-Related”:
In a letter from the BIA to Santa Barbara County Counsel Shane Stark dated Feb. 15, 2005, regarding the application by the Santa Ynez Band for 6.9 acres to be taken into trust, the BIA reassures the County of Santa Barbara that property used exclusively for or to support a gaming facility is considered gaming related, and must comply with Part 151 regulations and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
“Additionally, if fee-to-trust property is going to be used exclusively for or to support a gaming facility, it is considered gaming-related. Likewise, if the subject property will not be used exclusively to support the gaming facility, but the gaming facility cannot operate without the land and improvements, then that also is considered gaming-related.”
”During the presentation, Mr. Bearquiver informed the Board and the public that any
request for acquisition of land by the Federal government for gaming or
gaming-related purposes must not only comply with the Part 151 regulations but
also comply with the requirements of Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory
Act. Any application for acquisition of
land for gaming or gaming-related purposes, even where contiguous, must be
submitted to the Office of Indian Gaming Management in
”Lastly, should a tribe be successful in getting land placed into trust as a non-gaming related property, but later change its mind and place gaming or gaming-related facilities on the property without going through the necessary approvals, then the Department of Interior has noted that persons who knowingly and willfully falsifies information or makes false statements on or in connection with trust applications may be subject to criminal prosecution under the False Statements and Accountability Act of 1996.”
Another practice of cannibalization of communities into Casino Company Towns is occurring by the placement of off reservation properties and businesses into tribal LLC’s. Allowing this practice clearly enables the tribally owned off reservation businesses significant advantages over non-Indian businesses. Patrons have no recourse in an event of injury because the tribe will enjoy sovereign immunity.
For example, the Santa Ynez Band passed in December 2006 the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indian Limited Liability Company Act. All new purchases are being held under the new LLC Act. This is NOT a traditional LLC, but a tribal LLC that is designed to be exempt from all federal and state income taxes and will be immune from suit "to the fullest extent as the tribe enjoys sovereign immunity."
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Limited Liability Company Act (tribal LLC) ballot item Oct. 3, 2006:
"Approval of the SYBCI Limited Liability Company Act (Tribal LLC) would establish a business entity wholly-owned by the Tribe for the conducting of off-reservation business."
"Ownership title to property acquisitions made by the Tribe would be taken by the Tribal LLC." (Attachment F)
Draft of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Limited Liability Company Act:
"The LLC shall be exempt from all federal or state income taxes or other impositions to the same extent as the Tribe."
"The LLC shall have and enjoy the Tribe's sovereign immunity from unconsented suits and other legal process and claims, together with all other rights and privileges arising from tribal sovereignty, to the fullest extent that the Tribe enjoys sovereign immunity and the rights and privileges of tribal sovereignty."