SANTA FE, N.M., Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fine Point Group yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against five officials of the Pueblo of Pojoaque in the aftermath of a Pojoaque Tribal Court ruling that those individuals acted illegally in terminating a business relationship between Fine Point and the Pueblo in March 2011.
The lawsuit names as defendants the following: Pojoaque Governor/Pojoaque Gaming Company President/Pojoaque Gaming Commission Chairman George Rivera; former Gaming Company CEO Allen Moseley; Pojoaque Tribal Court Judge Frank Demolli; Gaming Commission Executive Director Stuart Zucker; and Gaming Commission Member Eddie Lopez. The federal complaint cites approximately 40 examples of conduct -- each of which is documented by internal emails -- that violated various federal, state, or tribal laws, regulations and policies which led to and include the illegal termination of the Fine Point contract.
"With the Tribal Court having ruled the contract termination illegal under tribal law and reinstated it retroactive to the dates on which the actions were taken, it is now time to hold those individuals accountable who perpetuated that conduct," said Dennis J. Whittlesey, an Indian gaming law specialist in the Washington, DC office of Dickinson Wright PLLC, who serves as FPG's tribal gaming counsel. "By refusing to honor Fine Point's legal contract, and by demanding that company resources be spent for their own benefit and purposes contrary to the strict provisions of federal Indian gaming law and policy, these men – three of whom are not even tribal members -- not only caused The Fine Point Group damages that ultimately could total tens of millions of dollars, but spent funds rightfully belonging to the Pojoaque people. With their own tribal court having found their actions blatantly and indefensively illegal, they cannot claim tribal sovereign immunity, and we expect to win a convincing judgment."
Yesterday's lawsuit follows the December 9 Decision rendered by The Honorable June Lorenzo, a pro-tem Judge appointed by the Pueblo to hear The Fine Point Group's case. Judge Lorenzo ruled that the Tribe, directed by these tribal officials, acted illegally in terminating The Fine Point Group's contract in March 2011. She ruled in favor of the company on all issues. The Tribe has not appealed the ruling.
The Fine Point Group is also represented by Paul Bardacke, Kerry Kiernan, and Travis R. Steele of the New Mexico law firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne, a firm with extensive litigation and Indian gaming expertise. Bardacke, a former New Mexico Attorney General, served as the state's Chief Negotiator in developing gaming compacts with 16 New Mexican tribes and pueblos.
In late 2010, The Fine Point Group entered into a consulting agreement with Buffalo Thunder, Inc. and Pojoaque Gaming, Inc., subsidiaries of Buffalo Thunder Development Authority, which is a wholly-owned tribal corporation. The firm was hired as part of the proposed restructuring of more than $250 million in casino development bonds that the Pueblo was unable to repay. These now-heavily discounted bonds are owned by a variety of banks, hedge funds and other institutional investors.
The defendants' adjudicated illegal actions were taken only a few months after the documents were executed, and the Tribal Court specifically ruled each of those actions void ab initio and ordered reinstatements retroactive to the dates on which they occurred.
The complete federal lawsuit filed today can be found at www.thefinepointgroup.com/buffalothunder.aspx
Contact: Dennis J. Whittlesey -- (202) 659-6928
About Dickinson Wright
Dickinson Wright is a full service law firm, employing more than 270 attorneys in offices located in Detroit, Nashville, Washington, DC, Toronto, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Troy (MI), Lansing (MI), Grand Rapids (MI) and Ann Arbor (MI). The firm also has affiliate relationships with law firms in Malta and Lima, Peru. The firm's Gaming Law Practice Group is recognized as preeminent both nationally and internationally, and two of its partners are Past Presidents of the International Masters of Gaming Law. Mr. Whittlesey chairs the firm's Indian Gaming Group and represents Indian Tribes throughout the country, as well as local governments and developers in their relationships with tribes. He has negotiated Tribal-State Gaming Compacts in various states, as well as comprehensive agreements for municipal services for tribal gaming and entertainment facilities throughout the country. He recently was named Best Lawyers' "2012 Washington, DC Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year."
About Sutin, Thayer & Browne
Sutin, Thayer & Browne is one of New Mexico's largest law firms, with offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, providing exceptional service to a wide range of clients for 65 years. Sutin counsels tribes, tribal entities and companies doing business in Indian country. Its Indian Law team has special expertise and background in Indian law, especially regarding Indian gaming and state compacts. Sutin also handles issues of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction, government relations, civil litigation, commercial transactions, mortgage and commercial finance, real estate, land disputes, tribal probates, bond issues, taxation, statutory drafting, natural resource law, environmental law and water law. Sutin lawyers are licensed to practice in the state courts of New Mexico and Colorado, the federal courts of the District of New Mexico and the Tenth Circuit, and the tribal courts of Acoma Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, Isleta Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, Laguna Pueblo, Navajo Nation, Santa Clara Pueblo, Southern Ute Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ysleta del Sur Tribe, and Zuni Pueblo.
About The Fine Point Group
Headquartered in Las Vegas, and with offices in Florida, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and New Jersey, The Fine Point Group is one of the gaming industry's leading full-service management and consulting firms. In six years from its founding, the firm has completed engagements in 20 U.S. states and eight countries, and has more than a dozen, full-time, gaming experts – all of whom had years of property-level gaming expertise prior to joining the firm. FPG is an Associate Member of the National Indian Gaming Association, and works with tribal clients in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Florida. Named "one of the most sought-after consultants in the industry" by Global Gaming Business magazine, the firm specializes in asset optimization of gaming assets around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.thefinepointgroup.com.
SOURCE The Fine Point Group