Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tribe seeking Point Molate casino resort scores new financing

RICHMOND — After losing Harrah's as its financial backer last year, an American Indian tribe that hopes to build a casino resort complex at the former Point Molate Naval Base has found a new partner — the tribe that runs the popular Cache Creek casino resort in Yolo County.

Financing from the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians will help the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians through an arduous federal approval process in its bid to build an 1,100-room resort with a casino, theater, convention center, retail and housing on the land at the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, said tribal spokesman Michael Derry. Rumsey would operate the casino, he said.

Most of the 312 acres has transferred to Richmond, but 50 acres remain with the Navy pending cleanup. The Navy could turn over those acres, along with cleanup money, under an early transfer now being discussed.

Guidiville has agreed to pay Richmond $20 million a year if the plan materializes.

The tribe seeks a rarely granted exemption under a federal law that bars tribes from gaming on land acquired after 1988. The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, which wants a casino along Richmond Parkway, is pushing for the same exemption. A federal decision on Scotts Valley is expected much sooner than for Guidiville. Critics charge that both tribes hail from the North Bay and that their pursuit of Contra Costa casinos amounts to "reservation shopping."

Derry declined to discuss the Advertisementfinancial terms of the deal.

"It's enough of a commitment to get us through the entire process," he said.

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