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SOURCE Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians
National Indian Gaming Commission to investigate violations of the Minimum Internal Controls at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Following months of mismanagement and suspected fraudulent activity that resulted in the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians not being able to make its full bond payment to its lenders on September 30, 2013, Justice Melvin Schweitzer of the Supreme Court of the State of New York released an order today the prohibits Nancy Ayala and her small faction of supporters from receiving any more money from the Tribe's casino until the Trustee approves a plan to make the overdue bond payment.
The judge reprimanded the Ayala faction in court for disregarding his orders and preventing auditors from conducting the financial audit of the casino that was due March 30 under the Tribe's Indenture agreement. Since Ayala seized control of the casino with a security force that included suspected gang members earlier this year, no one has been able to comprehensively examine the financial records at the Chukchansi Casino.
"Instead of managing the casino for the benefit of all 900+ Tribal members, and instead of making the requirement repayments of the Tribe's loan, Ayala and her small faction of supporters have been seizing money for themselves," said Reggie Lewis, Chairman of the Chukchansi Tribe. "This court order ensures that our debt obligations are paid and finally allows us to see where all of the money has been going for the past few months and why our bond payment was not made on time. The casino should be for the benefit of all Tribal members not used as personal bank account for Ayala and her close friends."
The National Indian Gaming Commission will also begin its audit of the Minimum Internal Control Standards at the Chukchansi Casino next week. The audit was necessary after it was discovered that on at least four days in June and July, up to one million eight hundred thousand dollars was removed from the casino cage according to records obtained by NIGC. Witnesses report Ayala leaving the cage with pallets full of cash around that time. The audit will also examine why the casino was reporting over $500,000 in mutilated or damaged currency when the annual average at the casino had been $35,000 to 45,000 a year.
The audit extends both to financial records as well as background investigations on key employees. This will include new Chief Financial Officer, Larry King, who was hired by Ayala despite integrity and honesty questions that stalled a gaming application at a previous employer in Nevada in 2012.
"We applaud the NIGC for stepping in to help us protect the best interests of all Tribal members," said Lewis.
The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe that has lived continuously in California's Central Valley and Sierra Foothills for more than 12,000 years. Today, the Chukchansi Tribe operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino on its ancestral territory in Coarsegold, California. The casino employs over 1,200 individuals making it one of the largest employers in Madera County.
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