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Rohnert Park Casino Faces New Legal Challenge

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(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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ROHNERT PARK (KCBS) – A Supreme Court ruling in a Michigan case could revive the legal effort to stop a tribal casino in Rohnert Park.

The U.S Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a lawsuit by David Patchak of Shelbyville, Michigan could move forward. He had attempted to block the opening of an Allegan County casino by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, which opened in 2011.

That is giving some hope to local opponents of a casino in Rohnert Park, although a local band of Indians has already started building at the site.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Station Casinos said it has the construction go-ahead from Sonoma County to start grading the land for the Graton Rancheria Casino, even though it hasn’t finalized its local mitigation deals.

But Pastor Chip Worthington said that violates the agreement the tribe signed with Governor Jerry Brown.

“If the guy’s got any guts at all, he’d tell them to stop construction until the compact has been enforced,” said Worthington.

The governor’s office said the tribe is not in breach of its compact. Worthington’s going to challenge it anew, in federal court, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individuals may sue to block federal approval of tribal casinos.

“We were thrown out of court on standing three years ago. Now they have to look at the reasons why we say this site is not eligible for gaming,” said Worthington. “There is no history of any Native American ever owning any property or even putting his foot upon this site.”

The tribe and Station Casinos have declined comment on the pending suit.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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